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Islamic World News ( 5 Oct 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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France’s Far-Right Leader Marine Le Pen: ‘Absolutely No Choice’ But To Close Mosques

New Age Islam News Bureau

05 October 2022

 

France’s far-right party Rassemblement National candidate for the 2022 French presidential election Marine Le Pen

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• Lawyers for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Argue PM Title Ensures Legal Immunity in US Courts Including the Jamal Khashoggi Case

• Non-Aligned Movement Concerned About Distortion Of Religions By Terrorist Groups: Iran Envoy to UN

• Right Group Warns Over US Collusion In Bin Salman’s Immunity In Khashoggi Killing Lawsuit

• Muslims Bring 'Neelkanth', A Bird With Blue Neck, For Hindu Devotees In UP to Start Dussehra Festivities

 Europe

• Muslims in Germany’s Cologne welcome Friday call to prayer over loudspeaker

• How Indian hashtags fuelled UK’s Hindu-Muslim unrest

• Legal battle continues in Belgium on extradition of Iranian diplomat convicted for terrorist attack

• Hamas blasts UK PM’s remarks about being “huge Zionist” as in line with Balfour Declaration

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Arab World

• Newest Hindu Temple in Dubai Officially Opens Its Doors To UAE Residents

• Al Khalifah regime trying to place slavery yoke on Bahraini nation: Top Shia cleric

• Qatar reopens Museum of Islamic Art ahead of Fifa World Cup

• Fans hiring $20,000-a-night superyachts in Dubai to watch Qatar World Cup 2022 at sea

• Terrorist YPG/PKK kidnapped Syrian girl with heart disease

• Assad regime seizes refugees’ farmlands in Idlib, Syria

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Mideast

• Jerusalem Activists Mobilise Against Settlers Storming Al-Aqsa Mosque

• Al-Aqsa: Israelis storm Jerusalem mosque ahead of tense Yom Kippur holiday

• At least 63 killed in Iran suppression of Zahedan protest: Human rights group

• Journalists condemn Turkey ‘disinformation’ bill threatening free press

• ‘US hypocrisy’: Iran calls on Biden to mind own human rights record, sanctions regime

• Iran’s IRGC strikes positions of terrorist groups in northern Iraq

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North America

• Detained US Citizen Namazi Allowed To Leave Iran

• The Hill fires Jewish American journalist for calling Israel ‘apartheid’ entity

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India

• Muslim Family Makes Ravana Effigies for Agra Ramlila Every Year

• MP Police Raze Houses of 3 Muslim Men Accused of 'Pelting Stones at Garba Venue' During Dispute

• Gujarat: 7 Hurt After Fight Over Location of Garba Event; Cops Thrash Suspects In Full Public View

• Bouncers From The Minority Community At Garba Event In Surat Attacked By Bajrang Dal Activists

• Four militants killed in separate encounters in J&K's Shopian

• Jharkhand: Muslim man lynched to death by mob, cops dismiss Islamophobia

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Africa

• Tunisia’s Islamists Under Siege As Saied Rolls Back Democracy

• Sudan’s pro-democracy groups ask UN to help contain paramilitary forces

• African Union invites Ethiopia’s government, Tigray forces to peace talks

• Uganda’s president fires son from military over threat on Twitter to invade Kenya

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Pakistan

• Armed Forces To Stay Out Of Politics, Says Gen Bajwa

• Attock jail employees rape, harass women visitors: report

• Educational institutions shouldn’t be made ‘political arenas’: PHC

• Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif calls Imran Khan 'biggest liar on earth'

• Imran gunning for ‘NRO’ at clandestine meetings, says Maryam

• US cannot walk away from Pakistan: report

• Govt to call out army in case of march on capital

• Security forces kill four terrorists in Tank clash: ISPR

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South Asia

• Fading Afghan Media Give Space to Disinformation

• Three dead after Rohingya refugee boat sinks off Bangladesh

• Taliban Visits Families of Education Centre Explosion Victims

• U.S citizen missing in Afghanistan, family claims he is in Taliban custody

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Southeast Asia

• Islamic Banks Not Fully Digitised But Are Moving Forward In Achieving The Potential Of Islamic Fintech, Says Shariah Scholar

• Despite Umno’s ultimatum, PAS unlikely to ditch PN, says analyst

• PAS to meet Umno leaders soon to discuss GE15 cooperation

• A confident opposition wouldn’t delay GE15, says Zahid

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:   https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/france-far-right-marine-mosque/d/128112

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France’s Far-Right Leader Marine Le Pen: ‘Absolutely No Choice’ But To Close Mosques

 

France’s far-right party Rassemblement National candidate for the 2022 French presidential election Marine Le Pen

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OCT 05, 2022

France’s far-right politician, Marine Le Pen, has demanded more mosques be closed in the country, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Her demand comes despite the closure of 24 mosques in France in the past two years upon the order of Interior Minister, Gerald Darmanin.

In an interview with French TV channel, BFMTV, Marine Le Pen said: “He (Darmanin) closes a mosque there, a mosque here. He dismisses a preacher once in a while, but he must close all extremist mosques in our lands.”

Asked over her criteria for the closures, she said all Muslims who have “radical rhetoric” should be deported.

Last year in August, France’s highest constitutional authority approved a controversial “anti-separatism” law that has been criticised for singling out Muslims.

The Bill was passed by the National Assembly last summer, despite strong opposition from both rightist and leftist lawmakers.

Touching on the upcoming trial of Justice Minister, Eric Dupond-Moretti, in a conflict of interest case, Le Pen demanded President Emmanuel Macron remove him from the post.

Moreover, on an investigation opened against Alexis Kohler, the Secretary-General of the Elysee, on charges of conflict of interest, Le Pen asked: “Does Emmanuel Macron want to keep someone suspected of conflicts of interest in such a critical position?”

Her National Rally party will propose a Bill for Kohler’s removal, she said.

Regarding the sanctions on Russia, she claimed that France’s sanctions against Russia did not work out, adding that the sanctions have left the French in a difficult situation.

Russia had an additional income worth €40 billion with oil exports during this period, she said.

Le Pen said this winter and the next will be even more difficult because of Moscow’s gas supply cut-off to France, adding that the sanctions were unthoughtful.

Source: Libyan Express

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

https://www.libyanexpress.com/frances-far-right-leader-absolutely-no-choice-but-to-close-mosques/

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Lawyers for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Argue PM Title Ensures Legal Immunity in US Courts Including the Jamal Khashoggi Case

 

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks during the Gulf Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on December 14, 2021. — Reuters/File

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October 5, 2022

RIYADH: Lawyers for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have argued that his appointment as prime minister qualifies him for immunity from lawsuits in US courts, including one related to the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Prince Mohammed, who previously served as deputy prime minister and defence minister, was named prime minister by royal decree last week, sparking concern from human rights activists and government critics that he was looking to skirt exposure in cases filed in foreign courts.

His lawyers had previously argued that he “sits at the apex of Saudi Arabia’s government” and thus qualifies for the kind of immunity US courts afford foreign heads of state and other high-ranking officials.

Last week’s royal decree “leaves no doubt that the Crown Prince is entitled to status-based immunity”, his lawyers said in a filing on Monday in a case brought in 2020 by Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz.

The 2018 killing of Khashoggi, a Saudi insider turned critic, in the country’s Istanbul consulate temporarily turned Prince Mohammed into a pariah in the West.

But he has been welcomed back on the world stage this year, notably by US President Joe Biden, who travelled to Saudi Arabia in July despite an earlier pledge to make the country a “pariah”.

Last year, Biden declassified an intelligence report that found Prince Mohammed had approved the operation against Khashoggi, an assertion Saudi authorities deny.

The Biden administration has yet to weigh in on whether it believes Prince Mohammed qualifies for immunity.

A judge had given US lawyers a deadline of Oct 3 to file a “statement of interest” on the question.

But on Friday, citing Prince Mohammed’s new position, the administration requested an additional 45 days to make up its mind.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1713526/prince-mohammeds-lawyers-argue-pm-title-ensures-legal-immunity

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Non-Aligned Movement Concerned About Distortion Of Religions By Terrorist Groups: Iran Envoy to UN

 

 

05 October 2022

Iran’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations says the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is concerned about the distortion of religions by terrorist groups to justify their heinous crimes.

Zahra Ershadi made the remarks during a meeting of the UN General Assembly’s Sixth Committee to discuss measures to eliminate international terrorism.

She said the Non-Aligned Movement is concerned about the arbitrary interpretation and misrepresentation of religions by terrorist groups to justify their actions.

She said NAM condemns and rejects terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including state terrorism, and reiterates its support for relevant UN resolutions regarding the legitimacy of the struggles of people under foreign domination and occupation for freedom and exercising their right to self-determination.

Speaking at the Sixth Committee’s Monday meeting, Ershadi said all states must combat terrorism, including by prosecuting or extraditing the perpetrators of terrorist acts.

She noted, however, that terrorism should not be equated with the legitimate struggle of peoples under colonial or alien domination and foreign occupation.

The brutalization of peoples remaining under foreign occupation should continue to be denounced as the gravest form of terrorism, she stressed.

She also said Iran rejects the use or threat of use of force by any state against any Non-Aligned Movement member country under the pretext of combating terrorism.

Terrorism is being perpetrated not just by terrorist groups, but by certain states against civilians, scientists and government officials, Ershadi said.

She recalled several assassinations and attacks, including the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, “the hero of combating [Daesh] in the Middle East”, in Baghdad International Airport by the former United States administration, the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizaeh, an Iranian nuclear scientist and deputy foreign minister, and the terrorist attack by Israel on Iran’s nuclear facility in Natanz.

Those attacks and others, including cyberattacks on critical infrastructure in Iran, were reprehensible practices of terrorism, she said.

Also hypocritical, she continued, is the labeling of people exercising their right to self-determination as terrorists and those who support the oppressed peoples as sponsors of terrorism. 

“It is the woeful tale of the Middle East,” she said, underscoring the destructive role of foreign military forces in the region and the protracted occupation of the Palestinian territory.

According to the top Iranian voy, unilateral coercive measures were not only tantamount to terrorism, but also constituted crimes against humanity, impairing appropriate resources required to combat terrorism and for effective cooperation among member states.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/10/05/690393/NAM-concerned-about-distortion-religions-terrorist-groups-Iran-envoy

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Right Group Warns Over US Collusion In Bin Salman’s Immunity In Khashoggi Killing Lawsuit

 

 

04 October 2022

A human rights group warns that Washington may use the “premier” title that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman newly invented for himself as a legal ploy to shield the allied kingdom’s de facto ruler from lawsuits filed against him in the US, including those surrounding the gruesome murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

In an interview with Arabi 21 media outlet, Raed Jarrar, director of Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), slammed the administration of US President Joe Biden for adopting a “very weak” position on Khashoggi’s murder, despite promises of making the Saudis “pay the price, and make them in fact the pariah that they are.”

“We regret the weakness of President Biden’s position, which was reflected in the US relationship with most of the authoritarian regimes in the Arab world, especially at the level of relations with Israel, the Egyptian regime or the Saudi regime. These relationships have become cheap and disappointing,” he said.

“Biden could not change the course or approach of the previous US administration, but we are putting pressure on the Biden administration internally in Washington, whether as non-governmental organizations or with members of the US Congress, to change these failed policies,” the activist said.

Jarrar said the fabricated title of “prime minister” was an attempt by bin Salman to avoid international lawsuits against the crown prince, who is widely reported to have ordered the assassination, warning that Washington may choose to work hand in gloves with MBS over his bid to secure immunity in the case.

Jarrar said DAWN would pressure the American government not to recognize the step taken by bin Salman. He underscored that “the legal team of the DAWN organization will explain to the American court that this step should not affect the course of justice at all.”

In a royal decree on September 19, Mohammad bin Salman was appointed as prime minister.

The decree did not state the reason behind the appointment. However, experts believe the decision was an attempt to protect him from the potentially-damaging lawsuits related to the assassination of Khashoggi.

The appointment by royal decree came as the administration of US President Joe Biden was debating whether the crown prince qualified for immunity from lawsuits filed in American courts.

Before the crown prince’s new title was announced on Friday, a judge gave US lawyers a deadline of October 3 to file a “statement of interest” on the immunity question.

On Friday, however, citing the crown prince’s new position, the administration requested an additional 45 days to make up its mind, according to a court filing which was seen by AFP.

At a virtual commemoration event held on Friday, entitled “Advances toward Justice for the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Four Years Later,” DAWN, an organization founded by Khashoggi, said it would pursue the case until the end.

Sarah Leah Whitson, DAWN’s executive director said, “MBS is playing a desperate ploy to gain immunity by virtue of his made up title and so long as his father, King Salman, remains the country's true head of state.”

“Regardless of how the court rules on MBS’s immunity ploy, we will continue to press our lawsuit against all remaining defendants, and we intend to commence discovery of all relevant facts, including MBS's role in the murder,” she assured.

“Though the Biden Administration has broken promise after promise to promote and defend human rights in the region, DAWN persists in its efforts to change the approach of the US foreign policy community so that the US will match its conduct with its rhetoric of support for freedom and democracy,” Whitson said.

In October 2020, two years after Khashoggi’s death, DAWN filed a complaint in the US along with Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, accusing Crown Prince Mohammed of being involved in a conspiracy that led to Khashoggi being kidnapped, bound, drugged, tortured and assassinated.

Khashoggi, who was murdered and dismembered by a Saudi hit squad at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, used to be a vocal critic of the Saudi regime and the crown prince.

The CIA concluded in 2018 that MBS had ordered the killing of Khashoggi, contradicting Saudi Arabia's insistence that the crown prince had had no prior knowledge of the plot.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/10/04/690373/Human-rights-groups-fear-Saudi-Prince-seeks-legal-cover-with-%E2%80%98made-up%E2%80%99-PM-title

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Muslims Bring 'Neelkanth', A Bird With Blue Neck, For Hindu Devotees In UP to Start Dussehra Festivities

 

Photo: Indian Express

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05th October 2022

By Namita Bajpai

LUCKNOW:  It is believed that with every mile, the language and essence of culture is changed in India, more so in Uttar Pradesh. A non-descript village in Deoria district is another example of the adage as it presents a unique example of communal harmony and amity between two communities. Here, the Muslims make the Dussehra festivities for their Hindu brethren possible through their unique gesture.

The Muslim community of Ramnagar village toils for nine days in search of a bird with blue neck popularly known as ‘Neelkanth’ and brings it to the village on ‘Navmi,’ a day ahead of Dussehra, the celebrations of which start only when the Hindu community takes Darshan of Neelkanth.

As per the common belief, it is auspicious to do Darshan of Neelkanth on Dussehra day as Lord Ram had taken Darshan of the bird before eliminating the demon king Ravan and bringing back Goddess Sita from his captivity.

“The Muslim families make the Darshan of Neelkanth possible for us. Without its Darshan, we cannot start the Dussehra puja and other celebrations. This has been a 250-year-old tradition of this village,” says a villager Ramchandra Yadav, adding that the uniqueness of the tradition lies in the fact that a Muslim family makes the Darshan of Neelkanth possible.

“This involves the Muslim community in Dussehra celebration with equal fervour and gusto,” says Yadav, who calls it a glaring example of amity and mutual harmony existing between the two communities in this small village. “The family of the late Mukhtar has been keeping the unique tradition for years.

After Mukhtar, who used to bring Neelkanth every year after a lot of hard work and start the Dussehra revelries, now his wife Jismara is carrying the responsibility with aplomb,” says Shri Krihan, an ex-cop.

As per the villagers, the family members of Jismara leave home in search of ‘Neelkanth’ about 10 days ahead of Dussehra and make it a point to return to the village with the bird at least a day ahead of Dussehra.

“Dussehra teaches about showing mercy towards animals and birds as a lot of animals and birds had joined Lord Ram in his endeavour to bring Sita back from the captivity of Ravana,” says Jism Ara.

Explaining further, the villagers say that on the day of Dussehra all the men, women and children are made to take Neelkanth’s darshan and in the evening each family, including Hindu and Muslims both, gather at the village Hanuman temple and render bhajans together.

Liaquat Ali takes the lead in singing bhajans dedicated to Lord Ram and Goddess a Sita at Hanuman temple and Hindu devotees just follow him. In the night, after worshipping it, the bird Neekanth, who is representative of the victory of good over evil, is then set free on the night of Dussehra,” said Ajay Singh, who teaches at the village school.

A blue-neck bird and brotherhood

The Muslims of Ramnagar village toils for nine days in search of a bird with blue neck, the ‘Neelkanth’, for the Hindu community here, as Dussehra starts only when they take darshan of the ‘Neelkanth’

Source: New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2022/oct/05/muslims-bring-neelkanth-for-hindu-devotees-in-up-2505005.html

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Europe

 

Muslims in Germany’s Cologne welcome Friday call to prayer over loudspeaker

Mesut Zeyrek  

04.10.2022

COLOGNE, Germany

Muslims in Germany's city of Cologne welcomed the permission granted to them for two years to announce the call to prayer every Friday on loudspeaker.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Abdurrahman Atasoy, the acting president of the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), said: "I hope we will hold our first call to prayer (over loudspeaker) here on Oct. 14, after we deal with the measures and issues that need to be resolved by the municipality."

He said the right to call to prayer is granted to Muslims by the constitution of Germany.

Prior to the first call to prayer, the Muslim community informed the residents of the neighborhood about Islam and its tenets to remove any prejudice.

The call to prayer invites worshippers to the mosque five times a day, however, Friday is the holiest day of the week for Muslims.

Atasoy also thanked Mayor Henriette Reker for granting the permission, adding that Muslims living in Germany for generations are a natural part of the society.

Murat Sahinarslan, director of MoscheeForum, an inter-faith group, said they filed an application for the call to prayer last year in November with the city authorities.

After receiving feedback from the municipality regarding the report, Sahinarslan said that there will be a few minor readjustments in the coming days.

"The practice has been in force in the Duren Mosque for 35 years, the Rendsburg Mosque in northern Germany has been holding outdoor call to prayer for years, so we are not the first," he said.

"The other mosques of Cologne have not applied yet, we are working in coordination with the mosques affiliated with DITIB on this issue," he added.

The outdoor call to prayer over loudspeaker every Friday will be held between 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., which will not last longer than five minutes and not go above a certain volume so as not to disturb neighbors.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/muslims-in-germany-s-cologne-welcome-friday-call-to-prayer-over-loudspeaker/2702271

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How Indian hashtags fuelled UK’s Hindu-Muslim unrest

Thomson Reuters Foundation

October 4, 2022

LONDON: Rumour had it that a Muslim girl had been kidnapped and a Hindu temple had sent masked thugs into combat.

Add in local fury over an India-Pakistan cricket match, and Hindu and Muslim men were soon fighting on the streets of central England.

It was a social media storm – mostly cooked up a continent away – that materialised in real life in Leicester, where police made almost 50 arrests and a community was left in tatters.

“It is a powerful illustration of how hashtag dynamics on Twitter can use dubious inflammatory claims to … escalate tensions on the ground,” said a spokesman at fact-checking site Logically, which analysed the posts’ veracity.

Experts say most of the incendiary tweets, rumours and lies came from India, showing the power of unchecked social media to spread disinformation and stir unrest a full continent away.

“I’ve seen quite a selection of the social media stuff which is very, very, very distorting now and some of it just completely lying about what had been happening between different communities,” Peter Soulsby, Leicester’s mayor, told BBC radio.

Rob Nixon, who runs Leicestershire police, concurred, telling the BBC that misinformation on social media had played a “huge role” in last month’s unrest.

To counter some of these claims, police took to social media themselves, saying they had fully investigated reports of three men approaching a teenaged girl in an attempted kidnap, and found no truth whatsoever to the online story.

“We urge you to only share information on social media you know to be true,” they said.

Fact-checkers also found no truth to claims that gangs of masked thugs were bussed into Leicester.

Many of the misleading posts alleging that Hindus and Hindu sites were being attacked came from India, analysis showed.

Some 80% of tweets with geographic coordinates, or geo-tagged information, were connected to India, Logically said.

“The ratio of tweets geo-tagged to the UK versus those geo-tagged to India was remarkably high for what, ostensibly, was a domestic incident,” a spokesman told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“The involvement of high-profile figures in India setting the discourse was a key element.”

BBC Monitoring said that more than half of the 200,000 tweets it investigated came from accounts geo-tagged to India, with hashtags such as #Leicester, #HindusUnderAttack and #HindusUnderattackinUK.

Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.

‘Horrific’ hashtags

The fact-checks confirmed what several Leicester residents had suspected for years: online disinformation and abuse aimed at religious minorities came increasingly from users in India, and platforms were doing little or nothing to check it.

“The events in Leicester did not happen out of the blue,” said Keval Bharadia at the South Asia Solidarity Group, a British community non-profit.

“Friends and family have been sending fake news and misinformation for years. It is a never-ending stream of propaganda from troll armies,” he said.

A spokesman for India’s ministry of home affairs did not respond to a request for comment.

The Indian High Commission in London, in a statement, said it “strongly” condemned the violence against the Indian community in Leicester, and the vandalism of “premises and symbols of Hindu religion”.

Some commentators and rights groups say India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has a hand in the social media warfare that targets religious and ethnic minorities.

The BJP swept into power in India in 2014 and won by an even bigger margin in 2019, its victories in part credited to its savvy tech cell and social media prowess, fuelled by thousands of supporters it calls digital “yodhas” or warriors.

BJP’s tech cell, as well as government appointed cyber volunteers, often abuse religious minorities and spread disinformation about them on social media, rights groups say.

In a recent report, Dalit rights group Equality Labs said “nationalistic, Islamophobic, and casteist disinformation” was spreading among expatriate Indians via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and thousands of Whatsapp and Telegram chat groups.

“Hindu nationalism is one of the largest disinformation networks in the global South Asian diaspora, with bigoted and often terrifying attacks against caste and religious minorities,” said Thenmozhi Soundararajan of Equality Labs.

“Just think about the horrific hashtags that are now normal,” said Soundararajan, citing “presstitute” – a derogatory term for journalists – and “lovejihad”, an Islamophobic conspiracy theory popular in India.

“Narratives spread on WhatsApp have led to offline violence,” she added.

Mute witness

While expatriates have long absorbed content from India, and commented on events, disinformation has mushroomed with the rise of social media platforms, said Pratik Sinha, co-founder of Indian fact checking site AltNews.

“We are so polarised now, and this is particularly true of non-resident Indians who can’t check the reality on the ground,” he said.

“A lot of hate speech and misinformation, particularly in regional languages, goes unchecked on social media platforms.”

Much of the noise emanates from Meta, formerly Facebook, which in 2019 commissioned an independent assessment of its role in spreading hate speech and incitement to violence on its platforms in India, following criticism by civil society groups.

But Meta has since said it would not release the full report, only saying that it had “significantly increased” its content moderation workforce and language support for India.

Twitter – which has about 24 million users in India – has asked an Indian court to overturn some government orders to remove posts which Delhi said spread misinformation.

Last month, in a rare rebuke, India’s Supreme Court said television was the “chief medium of hate speech” and asked why the government was “standing by as a mute witness”.

The government has not responded to the charge.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/world/2022/10/04/how-indian-hashtags-fuelled-uks-hindu-muslim-unrest/

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Legal battle continues in Belgium on extradition of Iranian diplomat convicted for terrorist attack

Agnes Szucs  

04.10.2022

BRUSSELS

An appeal against the law allowing the extradition of an Iranian diplomat jailed for terrorism charges has been filed at the Belgian Constitutional Court, while a first instance court approved the prisoner exchange, local media reported on Tuesday.

Iranian diplomat Assadolah Assadi was sentenced last year by a Belgian court to 20 years in prison for attempting a bomb attack at a protest near Paris in 2018.

According to Belgian daily Het Niewsblad, a Brussels court prepared the legal ground for extraditing Assadi to Iran based on a controversial deal between Brussels and Tehran allowing prisoner exchange.

The treaty, which was ratified by Belgian lawmakers in June, would enable the return of Belgian aid worker Olivier Vandeecasteele, who has been held in Iran since February.

According to critics, the deal would raise concerns if Assadi continued to serve his prison sentence in his home country and might serve as a further ground for Iran to take hostages.

The legal battle will not end because, in the meantime, an appeal against the treaty that would authorize Assadi’s extradition has been filed at the Belgian Constitutional Court, daily Le Soir revealed on Tuesday.

The motion asks for annulling the ratified law and immediately suspending its application.

Foiled bombing attack in Paris

The Vienna-based diplomat was involved in a plot to kill leaders of the opposition group National Council of the Resistance of Iran in 2018 in France, according to the ruling of the Antwerpen Court.

Assadi with his three Belgian-Iranian accomplices prepared to explode a bomb during the opposition group’s protest near Paris but the attack was prevented by a coordinated operation of the Belgian, German, and French police.

Despite raising his diplomatic immunity, he was arrested in Germany in 2018 during his holiday and extradited to Belgium.

Assadi received 20 years in jail for transporting explosive materials from Iran to Vienna.

His accomplices, a Belgian-Iranian couple, who were arrested near Antwerpen with 500 grams of TATP explosive and a detonator, were sentenced to 15 and 17 years in prison, and were deprived of their Belgian nationality.

Assadi said during their trial that they had been blackmailed by Iran to take part in the terror attack.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/legal-battle-continues-in-belgium-on-extradition-of-iranian-diplomat-convicted-for-terrorist-attack/2702540

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Hamas blasts UK PM’s remarks about being “huge Zionist” as in line with Balfour Declaration

05 October 2022

The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has censured British Prime Minister Liz Truss for calling herself a “huge Zionist” who wants to strengthen London’s relationship with Tel Aviv, saying the comments are in line with the UK’s 1917 Balfour Declaration, which set the stage for the creation of the Israeli entity and occupation of Palestine.

“Her statements about supporting Zionism mean she is standing at the Zionist regime’s side and supporting aggression against the Palestinian nation,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement.

He added that such remarks are in line with British crimes, which began more than 100 years ago with the Balfour Declaration, against the Palestinian cause against Israeli occupation.

The Hamas official said the UK premier was one those who cover up the killing of innocent children, adding, “This is shameful for the humanity.”

The Balfour Declaration came in the form of a letter from Britain’s then-foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, addressed to Lionel Walter Rothschild, a figurehead of the British Jewish community. It was published on November 2, 1917.

The declaration was made during World War I (1914-1918) and was included in the terms of the British Mandate for Palestine after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.

It is widely seen as the precursor to the 1948 Palestinian Nakba, when Zionist armed paramilitary groups, who were trained and created to fight side by side with the British in World War II, forcibly expelled more than 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland.

Speaking at a Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) event during the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, Truss expressed her unwavering support for Israel.

“I am so pleased to be here for the first time at the CFI event as your prime minister,” she said on Sunday.

“As you know I am a huge Zionist, I am a huge supporter of Israel, and I know that we can take the UK-Israel relationship from strength to strength,” Truss commented.

Last month, Truss told Israeli prime minister Yair Lapid that she was considering transferring the UK embassy in Tel Aviv to the occupied holy city of al-Quds. If it happens, the contentious policy shift would be similar to that of the US under ex-President Donald Trump in May 2018.

Angered by the UK premier’s announcement, the Palestinians described the statements as “a new Balfour Declaration” and said it proves Britain’s bias in favor of the Israeli regime.

The Gaza-based Hamas and Islamic Jihad resistance movements condemned reports about moving the British embassy to al-Quds.

“The announcement by the British Prime Minister Liz Truss about her intention to move her country’s embassy to al-Quds is a flagrant bias toward the occupying regime,” Hamas spokesperson Abdel Latif Qanou said at the time.

He warned that the move would not give Israel any legitimacy “over one inch of our land.”

Hazem Qassem, another Hamas spokesman, warned that moving the British embassy would be considered as a new crime by Britain against Palestinian people.

Islamic Jihad senior official Mohammed Shalah accused Britain of continuing to display “arrogance” against Palestinians.

“We are not surprised by what Britain is doing in light of the ongoing Arab and Islamic silence,” Shalah said. “We blame the Arab and Islamic countries that are supposed to support al-Quds.”

Another Islamic Jihad official, Tareq Salmi, warned that the controversial British plan would anger Arabs and Muslims.

He denounced the move as a “hideous colonial aggression” against Palestinians, adding, “Britain is directly responsible for the tragedy of Palestinian people.”

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/10/05/690395/Hamas-blasts-UK-PM%E2%80%99s-remarks-about-being-%E2%80%9Chuge-Zionist%E2%80%9D-as-in-line-with-Balfour-Declaration

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Arab World

 

Newest Hindu Temple in Dubai Officially Opens Its Doors To UAE Residents

October 05, 2022

DUBAI: The newest Hindu temple in Dubai opened its doors to worshippers on Tuesday following an official ceremony.

The new Hindu House of Worship officially welcomed worshippers for the first time following its inaugural by the UAE Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence.

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al-Nahyan inaugurated the temple by lighting a lantern in the temple’s multi-purpose hall on the ground floor, Al-Khaleej Times reported.

The new temple in Jebel Ali is the latest addition to what is locally known as “village of worship” which already houses nine religious shrines, including seven churches, the Guru Nanak Darbar and Sikh Gurudwara.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2175456/middle-east

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Al Khalifah regime trying to place slavery yoke on Bahraini nation: Top Shia cleric

04 October 2022

Bahrain’s most prominent Shia cleric has repudiated the country’s upcoming parliamentary polls, saying the ruling Al Khalifah regime has shut the door on free elections and political reforms in the tiny Persian Gulf Arab kingdom while trying to enslave the nation. 

“The [Manama] regime slams the door in the face of any voter or democracy advocate and seeks to place the yoke of slavery on the nation,” Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim wrote in a post published on his Twitter page on Monday.

“The regime actively directs every Bahraini citizen to the path of slavery and vassalage. Isn’t there anyone who would fear God and sound the alarm on the situation of his homeland and compatriots?” the senior cleric added.

Last month, Bahrain’s main opposition group, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, called for a boycott of the upcoming parliamentary elections in the country, amid an escalation of political repression and absence of meaningful reforms.

In a statement released on September 14, Al-Wefaq described the boycott of November 12 polls as a national duty, emphasizing that the ruling Manama regime maintains absolute control over the electoral process and seeks to install a weak legislature, whose main task would be to burnish the image of the corrupt Al Khalifah dynasty and cover up its human rights abuses.

It added that the constitutional and political rift between the Bahraini regime and the nation is deepening day by day, the main reason for which, it said, is the lack of any social agreement between the two sides.

In the absence of a real administration, the Al Khalifah regime continues its authoritarian rule by imposing its political, economic, security and social wills on the Bahraini nation, Al-Wefaq said.

Moreover, Sheikh Qassim had in mid-July denounced the November 12 polls as “a new disaster and calamity” for Bahrain, stating that the elections will only reinforce the Al Khalifah dynasty’s reactionary and oppressive measures and jeopardize the interests of the Bahraini people.

He said in a statement at the time that the forthcoming legislative elections will exacerbate the sufferings of the Bahraini nation, consolidate the dictatorship of the ruling Manama regime, and broaden the hardship that people are experiencing.

Demonstrations have been held in Bahrain on a regular basis ever since a popular uprising began in mid-February 2011.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/10/04/690349/Al-Khalifah-regime-trying-enslave-Bahraini-nation-Top-Shia-cleric

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Qatar reopens Museum of Islamic Art ahead of Fifa World Cup

4 Oct 2022

Qatar unveiled Tuesday its landmark Museum of Islamic Art after an 18-month renovation ahead of the World Cup in a bid to be a "showcase" for the Arab world.

"We are the biggest Museum of Islamic Art in this region... and we are in the middle of the Arab world," said museum director Julia Gonnella. "Where better can you learn about Islamic culture and art and history than here?"

The museum showcases 14 centuries of Islamic art and artefacts from around the world.

Constructed on a purpose-built island on Doha's waterfront promenade, the building is the work of the late US architect I.M. Pei, one of the best-known architects of the 20th century.

The five-storey building has redesigned its collections, with some two-thirds of the thousand exhibits new to the museum.

"Before it was only about the art, now it's about culture," Gonnella said. "We really want to tell the stories behind the masterpieces."

Qatar has spent billions of dollars on new stadiums for the first football World Cup in an Arab country, which kicks off on November 20.

Source: Khaleej Times

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

https://www.khaleejtimes.com/gulf/qatar-reopens-museum-of-islamic-art-ahead-of-fifa-world-cup

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Fans hiring $20,000-a-night superyachts in Dubai to watch Qatar World Cup 2022 at sea

05 October, 2022

Football fans are splashing out on $20,000-a-night superyachts in Dubai during the FIFA World Cup 2022 to watch tournament matches on big screens while sailing on the Arabian Gulf. Clients can push the boat out further with exclusive use of a Michelin-starred chef.

As tens of thousands of football fans plan to use neighboring countries as a base for the 2022 Qatar World Cup, Dubai – less than an hour’s flight away from the footballing action - is expecting a bumper time for tourism.

While supporters without tickets are expected to flock to fan zones, featuring big screens, to watch a slice of the action in the emirate, other fans are splashing out to make sure they can watch their teams in style.

UAE’s biggest private yacht charter, Xclusive Yachts, have reported a surge in interest in hiring outs its fleet of 70 yachts with people clambering onboard to experience the world’s greatest football tournament in luxury.

Its managing director, Amit Patel, told Al Arabiya English that early numbers suggest they will record a surge of 300 percent in bookings during the month-long tournament in November.

The company anticipates taking some 3,000 people out on Dubai’s waters every day during the World Cup with many football fans hiring the firm’s crown in the jewel – a 43-meter superyacht – for a private overnight charter.

With an overnight hire costing $20,000, guests onboard Stardom, a tri-deck superyacht, can enjoy not only a Michelin-starred chef serving gourmet cuisine, but also a Skydeck, five luxury cabins, a private fine-dining area, an onboard bar and Sky Lounge and sunbathing deck.

“We are expecting a more than 300 percent in yacht bookings in November and December mainly due to visitors for the World Cup and Qatar who are also looking for leisure activities in Dubai,” said Patel. “We expect a huge influx of tourists who are coming from all around the world from different geographies and different demographics. We have gotten a lot of requests to watch football on board.”

Xclusive Yachts have also launched a ‘shared service’ offer for groups of fans who want to experience a few hours on the boat to watch games while sailing past some of Dubai’s most iconic sites including JBR, the Atlantis, the Burj al Arab and Dubai Marina.

While more than a million football fans are expected to attend the tournament, many fans are expected to choose to stay in Dubai, where there are about five times as many hotel rooms.

Dubai, the Gulf's most popular tourism destination, is already reporting strong bookings in the fourth quarter, particularly during the four-week soccer tournament.

“We're seeing a lot of demand for the World Cup,” said Paul Bridger, chief operating officer of Rove Hotels, a locally-owned hotel brand operating nine mid-tier hotels across Dubai, in September.

Bridger said bookings in the fourth quarter, which overlaps with Dubai's peak October to February winter tourism season, were four times that of 2019, the year before the pandemic.

Monther Darwish, managing director of Dubai's five-star luxury Palazzo Versace, said he expected his 215-room hotel to be fully booked from October to December, with many guests expected to shuttle between Dubai and Doha throughout the World Cup.

The managing director of private jet operator DC Aviation Al-Futtaim, Holger Ostheimer, said enquiries for chartered flights from Dubai to Doha had increased three to fourfold.

Other private jet companies across the UAE are also seeing a surge in bookings for day trips to Qatar for the World.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/10/05/Fans-hiring-20-000-a-night-superyachts-in-Dubai-to-watch-Qatar-World-Cup-2022-at-sea

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Terrorist YPG/PKK kidnapped Syrian girl with heart disease

Esref Musa

04.10.2022

To recruit her as a child fighter, the terrorist organization YPG/PKK kidnapped a 15-year-old girl suffering from a heart condition from a village in Aleppo, Syria, near the Turkish border, according to local sources.

Redor El Ahmed, the spokesperson of the Independent Kurdish Neighborhood, said: “YPG/PKK terrorists kidnapped 15-year-old Busra E.K.B from the village of Ayn al-Arab.”

The so-called “Revolutionary Youth” terror group affiliated with the terrorist YPG/PKK kidnapped the teenager a week ago, he added.

“Busra has a heart condition,” he added.

In the 2021 Children and Armed Conflicts report published this July, the UN General Secretariat said the terrorist group YPG/PKK added 221 children to its fighters in 2021.

It also said the terrorist "Internal Security Forces," affiliated with the YPG/PKK, recruited 24 children the same year.

The terrorist YPG/PKK killed 55 children in Syria in 2021, according to reports.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/terrorist-ypg-pkk-kidnapped-syrian-girl-with-heart-disease/2702563

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Assad regime seizes refugees’ farmlands in Idlib, Syria

Mehmet Mesto  

04.10.2022

The Assad regime has confiscated farmlands owned by refugees and displaced citizens in rural Idlib, northern Syria, local sources said Tuesday.

The regime’s Agriculture Ministry seized the farmlands with claims it would cultivate the lands and reap their returns, the sources said.

"The lands offered for investment are the lands of ‘the hidden ones’," local Al-Watan daily quoted Idlib Governor Thaer Salhab as saying.

He said the seized lands can be given back to displaced persons “when their status is settled by the regime.”

Idlib fell out of regime control in 2015. Regime forces, however, have managed to recapture dozens of villages and towns in the province since 2017, with Russian and Iranian support, despite the Astana agreements that define Idlib as part of a de-escalation zone.

The Syrian regime had previously confiscated property and lands of opposition activists and refugees in areas under its control.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/assad-regime-seizes-refugees-farmlands-in-idlib-syria/2702475

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Mideast

 

Jerusalem activists mobilise against settlers storming Al-Aqsa Mosque

October 4, 2022

Palestinian activists in occupied Jerusalem have called on their fellow citizens across the occupied West Bank to mobilise and guard Al-Aqsa Mosque today and tomorrow against planned incursions by Jewish settlers. The activists warned that the illegal settlers are preparing to storm Al-Aqsa in large numbers to celebrate the Jewish Yom Kippur holiday on 4 and 5 October.

On Sunday, more than 200 settlers and dozens of Israeli soldiers stormed the mosque, the third holiest site in the Islamic world. The mosque witnessed a new violation by an extremist female settler who danced and sang in front of the Dome of the Rock Mosque in a provocation that caused outrage among Palestinian worshippers.

In another provocative incident, Israeli Knesset Member Simcha Rotman blew the ceremonial trumpet at the eastern wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque. Settlers have recently blown the trumpet in the Bab Al-Rahma Cemetery several times and launched calls to blow them collectively at Al-Aqsa Mosque during the Rosh Hashanah celebrations. Some did so over their telephones and said that they look forward to being able to blow traditional trumpets in the mosque in person.

Source: Middle East Monitor

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

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20221004-jerusalem-activists-mobilise-against-settlers-storming-al-aqsa-mosque/

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Al-Aqsa: Israelis storm Jerusalem mosque ahead of tense Yom Kippur holiday

4 October 2022

Israeli settlers stormed al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday morning in large numbers ahead of Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

he Islamic Waqf, a Palestinian-Jordanian body that runs the affairs of al-Aqsa, reported that hundreds stormed the courtyards of the mosque in the early morning, tightly flanked by Israeli police.

The settlers provocatively toured inside the complex, performing religious rituals and listening to explanations about the temple which some Jews believe used to stand on the site.

The Waqf added that dozens of Israelis blew shofars - musical horns - in between the graves of Muslims in the Bab al-Rahma cemetery near the eastern wall of the mosque.

Local media reported that tight restrictions were applied on Palestinians wishing to enter al-Aqsa, with some having their identification taken away from them and others forcibly ejected from the area.

Ahead of Yom Kippur, which takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday, Israeli authorities raised the state of alert in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

All major roads were closed in the occupied territories, in addition to the Karam Abu Salem commercial crossing to the besieged Gaza Strip.

The closures are due to be lifted at midnight on Wednesday, before being imposed again on the following Sundays for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

Near-daily raids

Palestinians have become accustomed to increased restrictions on their movement around the time of Jewish holidays.

This year, the closures come amid a heightened campaign of near-daily raids and incursions by Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank.

The army is also preparing to impose a two-day closure on the city of Nablus, blocking all roads leading to it in fear of attacks by armed Palestinian groups.

The northern West Bank city had become the main flashpoint in recent weeks with several settler attacks on Palestinian property reported and a number of shootings at Israeli targets by Palestinian gunmen.

On Tuesday, scores of Israeli settlers gathered on Hawara Street, south of Nablus, performing religious rituals alongside rabbis and the heads of settlement councils.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said that 30 people had been treated late on Monday for breathlessness from tear gas and four for bruising after Israeli army and settler attacks south of Nablus.

Earlier on Monday, two young Palestinians were shot dead and another was wounded after Israeli forces opened fire on a vehicle near Ramallah.

Source: Middle East Eye

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

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-aqsa-mosque-yom-kippur-ahead-tense-holiday

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At least 63 killed in Iran suppression of Zahedan protest: Human rights group

04 October, 2022

At least 63 people were killed last week when Iranian security forces “bloodily suppressed” a protest in the city of Zahedan in southeastern Iran, the Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) NGO said on Tuesday.

The clashes erupted after Friday prayers last week in Zahedan, the capital of the Sistan-Baluchistan province which is home to the Baluch ethnic minority who largely adhere to Sunni Islam and not the Shiism predominant in Iran.

The incident took place in the midst of the nationwide demonstrations that erupted following the death of Mahsa Amini who had been arrested by the morality police.

But rights groups have said the protest in Zahedan was sparked by accusations that a police chief in the port city of Chabahar, also in Sistan-Baluchistan, had raped a 15-year-old Baluch girl.

“On September 30, people gathered after Friday prayer in Zahedan to protest against the rape of a Baluch 15-year-old girl by Chabahar’s police chief, which was bloodily suppressed by security forces,” IHR said, raising a previous toll of 41.

Accounts posted on social media at the time had spoken of dozens of dead in Zahedan on Friday while images had shown overwhelmed hospitals and bloodied corpses.

There have also been reports of victims dying in hospitals due to lack of beds and bandages to stop the bleeding.

Activists have also charged that security forces have shot at protesters from helicopters. IHR said four people driving in an open roof car were shot and killed by fire from a military helicopter in north Zahedan.

Specialised NGO the Baluch Activists Campaign has published on its Telegram channel the names of all 67 of those it says were killed, adding that 300 were wounded.

Iranian state media have, however, said that five members of the Revolutionary Guards were killed in what it described as a “terrorist incident.”

The police chief in Sistan-Baluchistan had said on state television that three police stations were attacked in the province.

Sistan-Baluchistan, which neighbors Pakistan, is one of Iran’s poorest regions. Activists have complained over the last months that Baluch convicts were being executed in disproportionate numbers as hangings surged in the Islamic Republic.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/10/04/At-least-63-killed-in-Iran-suppression-of-Zahedan-protest-Human-rights-group

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Journalists condemn Turkey ‘disinformation’ bill threatening free press

04 October, 2022

Turkish journalist organizations on Tuesday denounced a government-backed bill that could see offenders jailed for three years for spreading “disinformation,” saying it threatened freedom of expression.

The bill, due to before parliament Tuesday after being floated by the ruling AKP party in May, would force social media networks and internet sites to hand over details of users suspected of “propagating misleading information.”

It comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has long sought to muzzle criticism, is facing his most challenging election since he came to power nearly two decades ago.

The ruling party’s approval ratings have dropped to historic lows ahead of the election due by June next year thanks to a astronomical inflation and a currency crisis.

“We, the journalists, are warning both the lawmakers and the public once again as part of our responsibility to society,” 10 journalist organizations said in a joint statement outside parliament in Ankara.

“If this law is implemented in its current form, the freedom of press, expression and communication in our country will be brought under great pressure and siege.”

Journalists, accompanied by opposition lawmakers, wore black masks in protest and unfurled banners: “Press is free,” “No to the censorship law” and “free press is essential to democracy.”

Turkey regularly ranks among the world’s worst jailers of journalists.

As well as risking prison, journalists found to have broken the new law could also lose their press cards.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/10/04/Journalists-condemn-Turkey-disinformation-bill-threatening-free-press

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‘US hypocrisy’: Iran calls on Biden to mind own human rights record, sanctions regime

04 October 2022 

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman has slammed the United States’ “hypocrisy” on human rights, urging US President Joe Biden to mind his own country’s human rights record and lift inhumane anti-Iran sanctions if he is truly concerned about human rights.

“It would have been better if Mr. Joe Biden, before taking up humanitarian postures, had thought about the human rights record of his own country, though hypocrisy needs no thinking,” Nasser Kan’ani said in a Tuesday Instagram post.

Kan’ani further said the US president should instead be concerned about the numerous sanctions Washington has imposed against the Iranian nation, “as their implementation against any nation is a clear example of crimes against humanity.”

People across the world “have been and are witnessing the true and unmasked face of American human rights” in many countries, including Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Syria and even on US soil, he added.

Kan’ani was reacting to a statement released by the White House late on Monday in which Biden accused Iran of a violent crackdown against nationwide protests following the death of a young Iranian woman in a hospital days after collapsing at a police station in the capital Tehran.

Biden had pledged to place “further costs” on Iran, while at the same time claiming that Washington would continue to support the rights of Iranians to “protest freely.”

Protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman who fainted at a police station on September 16 and was later pronounced dead at a hospital, erupted first in her native province of Kordestan and later spread to other parts of the country, including Tehran.

The protests soon turned violent, with foreign-backed rioters going on the rampage in several cities, attacking security officers, resorting to vandalism against public property, and desecrating religious sanctities.

Speaking in an address to military cadets in Tehran on Monday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei severely censured the deadly riots, saying they were orchestrated in advance by the United States and the Israeli regime.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/10/04/690348/Iran-US-Kan-ani-human-rights-record-Mahsa-Amini-hypocrisy-sanctions

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Iran’s IRGC strikes positions of terrorist groups in northern Iraq

04 October 2022

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has once again targeted the positions of terrorist groups operating near the country’s western borders in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

The IRGC’s Ground Force pounded the positions of terror groups in Sidekan, north of Erbil in Kurdistan region on Tuesday, with multiple rocket launchers, precision-strike weapons and drones, according to a report published by Fars news agency.

It added that during the attacks, a gathering joined by one of the terrorist groups’ commanders was targeted, inflicting heavy losses on them.

Since September 24, the IRGC have been targeting terrorist bases in Iraq’s Kurdistan region on a daily basis, amid reports that terrorists sought to ignite riots and unrest in Iran’s western border cities.

In an interview on Monday, Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour said elements of separatist terror groups, including the so-called Komala Party, in the northern Iraqi region had made several moves against the country over the past years.

He also noted that Iran had regularly voiced its opposition to these movements, which the commander said were aimed at disintegrating Iran. 

Iran has on countless occasions warned Iraqi Kurdistan’s local authorities that it will not tolerate the presence and activity of terrorist groups along its northwestern borders, saying the country will give a decisive response should those areas become a hub of anti-Islamic Republic terrorists.

Back in May, the IRGC struck and demolished positions of terrorist groups operating near the country’s western borders in Iraq’s northern Kurdish regional capital of Erbil.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/10/04/690375/Iran-IRGC-target-terror-groups-postions-Kurdistan-Iraq

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North America

 

Detained US citizen Namazi allowed to leave Iran

05 October, 2022

Detained US citizen Baquer Namazi has been allowed to leave Iran and his son has been granted furlough from prison, the State Department said Wednesday, confirming their release.

Namazi, a former UNICEF official, was detained in February 2016 when the 85-year-old went to Iran to press for the release of his son Siamak, who had been arrested in October of the previous year.

The United States has been pressing for the release of these two men and two other Americans amid efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major Western powers.

“Wrongfully detained US citizen Baquer Namazi has been permitted to depart Iran, and his son Siamak, also wrongfully detained, has been granted furlough from prison,” a State Department spokesperson told AFP.

It added that the older Namazi “was unjustly detained in Iran and then not permitted to leave the county after serving his sentence, despite his repeated requirement for urgent medical attention.”

“We understand that the lifting of the travel ban and his son’s furlough were related to his medical requirement.”

The United Nations said last week that the pair had been allowed to leave Iran, after an appeal from its Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Both were convicted of espionage in October 2016 and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Baquer Namazi was released on medical leave in 2018 and had been serving his sentence under house arrest.

At least two other American citizens are currently held in Iran.

Businessman Emad Sharqi was sentenced last year to 10 years in prison for espionage, and environmentalist Morad Tahbaz, who is also a British national, was arrested in 2018 and released on bail in July.

A drive to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal resumed in late November last year, after talks were suspended in June as Iran elected ultra-conservative President Ebrahim Raisi.

The 2015 deal -- agreed by Iran, the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany -- offered Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

But the United States unilaterally withdrew in 2018 under president Donald Trump and reimposed biting economic sanctions, prompting Tehran to begin rolling back on its commitments.

On Sunday, the United States rejected Iranian reports that Tehran’s release of US citizens would lead to the unfreezing of Iranian funds abroad.

“With the finalization of negotiations between Iran and the United States to release the prisoners of both countries, $7 billion of Iran’s blocked resources will be released,” the state news agency IRNA said.

But the State Department dismissed any such link as “categorically false.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/10/05/Detained-US-citizen-Namazi-allowed-to-leave-Iran

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The Hill fires Jewish American journalist for calling Israel ‘apartheid’ entity

04 October 2022

Jewish American journalist Katie Halper has been sacked by the corporate-owned US media outlet The Hill over defending a Congress member’s portrayal of Israel as an apartheid regime based on a list of facts.

The 41-year-old journalist, known for her podcast titled “Rising” for The Hill TV, had drafted a factual monologue in defense of Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib against attacks on the Michigan lawmaker’s over her new anti-Israel comments. 

Tlaib found herself in hot water in the Democratic camp and among pro-Israel lobbying groups by saying recently, “I want you all to know that among progressives, it becomes clear that you cannot claim to hold progressive values yet back Israel’s apartheid government.”

In the monologue for “Rising,” Halper, who was the program’s co-host, argued that the backlash against Tlaib was “outrageous” and criticized Israel’s unjust laws and brutalization of Palestinians.

The monologue also included the definition of apartheid according to international law and quotations from human rights organizations such as Israel’s B’Tselem, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International, which have all accused the occupying regime of committing the crime of apartheid.

Initially, executives at The Hill TV blocked Halper from broadcasting the segment. She was, however, fired from her job later as she spoke publicly about the censorship.

The good news, according to Halper’s twitter account, is that she had shot the censored video with an actually independent media outlet which was then hosted by New York-based BreakThrough News.

In the monologue based on facts, Halper criticized the lash against Tlaib, telling colleagues and representatives who attacked Tlaib that “apartheid is not about feelings but rather about facts.”

“I’m not a Jewish colleague of Tlaib, but I am a Jew and I am outraged. Not by Tlaib, but by the attacks on Tlaib. Rashida Tlaib is saying that Israel is an apartheid state and that people who claim to have progressive values cannot support an apartheid state. No matter how loose a definition of progressive we use, it certainly excludes supporting a racist apartheid system,” Halper said in the video.

In the monologue, she also mentioned the definition of apartheid provided by the UN’s International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Aparthied in Article II, which describes apartheid as “the inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.”

Harper also referred to the different organizations and figures who identify Israel as an apartheid entity, including al-Haq, the al-Mezan center for human rights, Adalah, Addameer Association, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

She quoted former Israeli officials describing the entity as an apartheid regime.

Halper’s video was showered with comments, many congratulating her on her bravery in telling the truth. Reactions also poured in from activists and journalists who expressed solidarity with Halper.

In response to the sacking of Halper, Maximillian Alvare, a guest contributor at Halper’s show, announced his resignation through a tweet.

“After 3 years as a regular guest contributor, I have notified the Hill that I will not be going on Rising anymore. I stand in solidarity with Katie Halper & our oppressed Palestinian siblings, & I stand resolutely against the top-down decision to censor/fire Katie for telling the truth,” read the tweet.

In turn, journalist Chuck Modi from Washington DC said in a tweet that Katie Halper’s coverage is “most basic “water-is- wet” reporting. “Her firing, like Marc Lamont Hill at CNN, is latest message to journos that if you want to keep your job, you must keep lying. Appreciate Katie putting facts & justice above all.”

Famous actress Susan Sarandon also showed consolidation with Halper by re-tweeting the video. She wrote,“This is What Got Katie Halper Censored & Canceled By The Hill: Israel Is An Apartheid State – YouTube.”

Four years ago, Marc Lamont Hill’s was fired by CNN after he gave a speech at the UN, in which he called for Palestine to be free from Israeli occupation.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/10/04/690358/Jewish-American-journalist-fired-for-calling-Israel-apartheid-state

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India

 

Muslim Family Makes Ravana Effigies for Agra Ramlila Every Year

OCTOBER 04, 2022

Every year, a month ahead of Dussehra, 75-year-old Jafer Ali along with his family gets down to the mammoth task of making effigies of Lanka king ‘Ravan’ and his brothers for the Ramila here. Ali, who belongs to the fifth generation of a family of artisans, said “We are invited by the committee members of Agra’s Ramlila to make effigies and for about a month we stay at Ramlila ground to complete effigies of different sizes." At the culmination of Ramlila, the committee also felicitate Ali and his family.

Talking about his skills, Ali, the eldest among the artisans told PTI, “I have been in this profession since my childhood. Now the fifth generation of our family is working in this profession. I used to come with my grandfather and father and now I am leading other family members and workers." He has a family of 18 members and all are skilled in making effigies, he said. “In this year’s Ramlila, which is taking place after a hiatus of two years due to COVID-19, Ravan’s effigy is about 100 feet tall and that of his brothers Kumbhkaran and Meghnath are 65 and 60 feet tall, respectively. The size of other effigies depends on the demand of the committee members," he said, adding that every year the size of the effigies differs.

“It takes about one month to complete the effigies, which are made up of colourful paper, twine rope and adhesive made up of white flour and bamboo sticks," Ali said. He said his family is happy to come again after COVID-19, which affected the entire world.

“This year there is a wave of joy, because we are able to showcase our skills," he added. 45-year-old Auli, another family member who helps Ali in making effigies, said, “The wages are different for each worker and varies from Rs 500-Rs 700 a day. During this month-long event, more than 15 effigies and other designs are made by us as per the scene in the Ramayan." Ali and his nephew Amir Ahmad (50) claimed to have never faced any kind of discrimination because of their religion.

“Nobody here treats us like we belong to a different religion. We work as if it is our home. Even children of our families come to watch the Dussehra celebration." “The locals here love us. That is why my grandfather, father and I along with other family members have been coming here to make these effigies every year," he added. The district Ramlila which began about a century ago attracts visitors not only from Agra but also from its nearby Mathura and Firozabad districts as well.

Source: News18

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https://www.news18.com/news/india/muslim-family-makes-ravan-effigies-for-agra-ramlila-every-year-6097525.html

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MP Police Raze Houses of 3 Muslim Men Accused of 'Pelting Stones at Garba Venue' During Dispute

Oct 5, 2022

New Delhi: Madhya Pradesh police has razed the houses of three Muslim men booked in a dispute between two groups at a Garba venue in Mandsaur district.

Nineteen people have been booked in a fight which occurred on the night of October 2 at Surjani village within the jurisdiction of the Sitamau police station.

A report by Dainik Bhaskar notes that a man named Shivlal Patidar complained to the father of one Salman Khan about the latter’s manner of riding the motorcycle. A dispute erupted between the two. On the night of Sunday, October 2, Salman reached a garba venue with his associates to look for the man. A fight ensued, in the course of which Salman hit a companion of Shivlal, named Mahesh, with an axe, according to the paper. As more people gathered, Salman and his associates pelted stones at the venue of the garba event, injuring one woman, the report says.

The news agency PTI has reported that four people were injured. Hindustan Times reported that Mahesh and Shivlal, who are receiving treatment, are in a serious condition.

Several news outlets have reported the initial incident as a case of stones having been hurled at a garba venue by Muslims, without mentioning the violent dispute.

“After receiving information about stone pelting at a garba pandal due to a dispute between two groups, the police reached the spot and brought the situation under control,” Superintendent of Police (SP) Anurag Sujania told reporters.

A case was registered against 19 persons under various sections of the Indian Penal Code including 307 (attempt to murder) for hurling stones at the pandal.

Seven of the accused were detained after a probe, Sujania said, adding that some of the accused are “habitual offenders.”

The SP said “illegal construction” of more than 4,500 sq ft worth more than Rs 4.5 crore, belonging to three of the accused, was demolished on Tuesday with the help of the revenue department.

Source: The Wire

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https://thewire.in/communalism/madhya-pradesh-garba-mandsaur-demolition-bulldoze-muslim-house

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Gujarat: 7 Hurt After Fight Over Location of Garba Event; Cops Thrash Suspects In Full Public View

Oct 5, 2022

New Delhi: Gujarat police on Tuesday beat up in full public view some of the accused of a case where seven persons were injured after an argument over the location of a garba event in Gujarat’s Undhela village spiralled into violence with Muslim residents objecting to holding the programme near a mosque.

The initial incident over the location of the garba event took place late on Monday, October 3. A day later, videos emerged showing police beating the suspected attackers arrested in the case by holding them against an electric pole in the village square in full public view.

Video clips appear to show three arrested persons being brought out of a police van near the event’s venue. They appear to be then taken towards an electric pole and held against it by a policeman who pulled them by their hands. Another policeman is seen hitting them below the waist with a baton.

The videos also appear to show the accused apologising to a large group of people gathered at the spot with folded hands after policemen ask them to do so.

Those witnessing the beating at the site cheered the police action.

Local news outlet VTV Gujarati News shared the video with a caption that NDTV reported as having read: “10-11 heretics were brought to the village, where the police taught them a lesson in public.”

Garba skirmish

Police have arrested 13 persons so far after a First Information Report (FIR) was registered at the Matar police station, said deputy superintendent of police V.R. Bajpai.

“The village Sarpanch (head) had organised Garba (a popular Gujarati folk dance) at a temple. A mob from the Muslim community tried to stop it from taking place,” Bajpai was quoted as having said by PTI.

However, the FIR itself, according to NDTV, notes that members from the Muslim community in the village had objected to the garba being organised near a mosque, which is located across the temple.

A group of people gathered at the venue at around 11:30 pm and started hurling abuses at the revellers and asked them to pack up, the FIR says. More people joined them and the mob started pelting stones when the revellers continued to play Garba, said the FIR. Some of them were armed with sharp weapons, and sticks and they pelted stones at the temple, said the FIR.

The mob allegedly pelted stones and at least seven persons, including a Gram Rakshak Dal (GRD) jawan and a policeman, were injured, he said.

“The FIR says a mob of 150 people, including women, attacked the group performing Garba by pelting stones. As per the FIR, 43 of the accused have been identified by name,” the official said.

Source: The Wire

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

https://thewire.in/communalism/gujarat-garba-event-attacked

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Bouncers From The Minority Community At Garba Event In Surat Attacked By Bajrang Dal Activists

4th October 2022

Surat: Bajrang Dal activists and bouncers from the minority community clashed here during a garba event here.

The incident happened on Monday night and one bouncer was injured, who was treated at a hospital.

As the police reached on time the situation was controlled and the garba event resumed soon after.

The Bajrang Dal activists during their surprise checking on Sunday night had found that Thakor Vadi garba organiser had hired a security team, which had Muslims bouncers. The activists had asked the organiser to cancel the security service and ensure that no Muslim bouncer was on duty, even though on Monday night Muslim bouncers were at the security gate of the event, when activists asked their name, they gave false identity with Hindu names which led to the clash, said a local activist of Bajrang Dal.

“Some clash was reported at Thakorji vadi garba event to the police, a team was dispatched and the situation was brought under control. One person is said to be injured, police don’t have detailed information, investigation is going on, whosoever is responsible, will be arrested,” assured Sagar Bagmar, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Surat.

Source: Siasat Daily

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https://www.siasat.com/bouncers-at-garba-event-in-surat-attacked-by-bajrang-dal-activists-2427180/

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Four militants killed in separate encounters in J&K's Shopian

Oct 5, 2022

SRINAGAR: Four militants were killed in two separate encounters with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian district on Wednesday, police said.

Three Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants were killed in the Drach area of Shopian, while a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant was killed in the Moolu area of the south Kashmir district, they said.

"Three local #terrorists linked with proscribed #terror outfit JeM killed in #encounter at Drach #Shopian," Additional Director General of Police, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said on Twitter.

He said a local terrorist of the proscribed outfit LeT was killed in an encounter in Moolu.

In the Drach operation, two of the three killed terrorists were identified as Hanan Bin Yaqoob and Jamshed, Kumar said.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/four-militants-killed-in-separate-encounters-in-jks-shopian/articleshow/94654659.cms

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Jharkhand: Muslim man lynched to death by mob, cops dismiss Islamophobia

4th October 2022

A 22-year-old Muslim man was lynched to death by a mob with axes, tangi and sticks in Gumla district on the Jharkhand-Chhattisgarh border. His motorcycle was also burnt.

The deceased – Ejaz Ansari – a resident of Jari in Jharkhand had gone to Patratoli in Chhattisgarh for some work.

Siasat.com spoke to Superintendent of Police Gumla district Dr Ehtesham Waquarib who said that an FIR has been lodged against five men.

The senior police officer added that Ansari had a criminal history. When asked if it is a case of Islamophobia, the SP dismissed it.

“Ansari had a criminal history. It is possible that he had an enmity with a local gang in Chhattisgarh and that can be a possible reason for the murder,” the SP told Siasat.com.

“The killers are from Chhattisgarh and hence we are in constant touch with the police there. However investigations are still underway and we cannot put a finger on anything yet,” the SP said.

Ansari’s family members were inconsolable when they heard the news. They threatened that if no action is taken against the killers, they will not accept Ansari’s body.

Source: Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/jharkhand-muslim-man-lynched-to-death-by-mob-cops-dismiss-islamophobia-2427274/

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Africa

 

Tunisia’s Islamists under siege as Saied rolls back democracy

Amberin Zaman

October 4, 2022

TUNIS — On a gray December morning, Noureddine Bhiri and his wife Saida slid into the family car outside their home in Tunis’ El Manar neighborhood. With Saida at the wheel, the middle-aged couple was about to set off for work when four blue Ford SUVs screeched around them, blocking their path. “A group of bearded youths in civilian clothes snatched the car keys out of my wife’s hands and forced us to get out,” Bhiri recalled. The men were armed. “They shoved me into the back of one of the jeeps. I thought to myself, ‘They are Islamic State.’ I was terrified,” Bhiri said.

Bhiri, 64, a senior figure in the Islam-oriented Ennahda party, was held incommunicado for three days in a heavily guarded shack in a forest outside Tunis where the howls of wolves and grunts of wild boar filled the air. “Who are you? Why have you kidnapped me?” he asked his captors repeatedly. He was offered no answer. It wasn’t until he was moved to a state hospital after refusing food and drink that Bhiri, a diabetic, discovered he was under “house arrest” because he posed “a threat to Tunisia’s national security.” His ordeal lasted 64 days.

Last week, Ennahda’s 81-year old leader, Rached Ghannouchi, was grilled by counterterrorism police, spending 30 hours in different security units over three days. Ali Laarayedh, a former prime minister and a fellow Nahdaoui, as party members are known, was held for interrogation as well. All three leaders are among some 800 individuals being investigated for supposedly encouraging thousands of Tunisians to take up arms with assorted jihadis in so-called “hotbeds of tension” in Libya and Syria during Ennahda’s first two years at the helm of Tunisia’s first freely elected government that was formed in 2011.

Lawyer Abderrazak Kilani, who is defending Ennahda, labeled the investigation a “disgrace.” “There is nothing in the prosecution's case to prove these absurd claims. The dossier is empty,” Kilani told Al-Monitor. Ghannouchi is due to undergo further questioning on Nov. 28.

The probe is part of a broader campaign targeting the party masterminded by Tunisia’s authoritarian President Kais Saied. The outcome of that campaign will have lasting repercussions for the future of Tunisia’s tottering democracy and will likely resonate with political Islamists across the globe.

“It was the most democratic party in Tunisia. It was the only one where there was a lot of dissent factored into the system, where there was a dialogue between the regions and the national center and there were shifts in policy based on what the rank and file sought,” said William Lawrence, a former US diplomat and nonresident scholar at the Middle East Institute with sweeping knowledge of the Maghreb.

“Ennahda was the best model political Islam managed to produce,” said Tarik Celenk, a prominent Muslim intellectual in Turkey, where another Islamist party and a close Ennahda ally, the Justice and Development Party led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been in power for the past two decades.

Few doubt that Saied’s goal is to crush the party and he’s tightening the vise ahead of parliamentary elections that are due to be held on Dec. 17, despite opposition vows to boycott them.

Riding on a wave of popular fury over endemic corruption and a failing economy, the inscrutable former constitutional law instructor shot to power in a landslide in 2019. (Saied is not a professor, as he is commonly described. He was denied a PhD after refusing in signature stubborn form to make minor tweaks to his thesis that his examiners were asking for.)

Saied has since sacked the government, dissolved the parliament, scrapped judicial oversight and rammed through a new constitution giving him near unfettered power as well as an electoral law which bans political candidates from running on party lists.

Journalists are being put behind bars under draconian new legislation criminalizing free speech. The opposition and civil rights activists label his actions a coup.

“There is a great danger that democracy will be lost,” warned Noureddine Boutar, CEO of Tunisia’s influential first private broadcaster, Mosaique FM.

Even as Saied paints Ennahda as dangerous zealots, Article Five of his new constitution, approved overwhelmingly in a controversial referendum but with less than 30% voter turnout, states that Tunisia is “part of the Islamic Ummah” and that “it is incumbent upon the state alone to work to achieve the purposes of Islam by preserving soul, honor, property, religion and freedom.”

“Saied’s constitution goes [much farther] in establishing what you could call political Islam and quite a patriarchal, retrogressive interpretation of it than Ennahda ever proposed in their wildest dreams,” noted Monica Marks, an American academic who closely studies Ennahda, during a panel organized by the Project on Middle East Democracy, a Washington think tank.

In June, the 64-year-old president sacked 57 judges on the grounds that they were “changing the course of cases” and “disrupting investigations” — in other words, for failing to indict Ennahda members.

“Kais Saied is in contradiction with the ideals he claims to be embracing. He is walking straight into a wall,” senior Ennahda official Ajmi Lourimi told Al-Monitor.

A devout Muslim, Saied has justified the moves on the grounds that the old rotten system is unfixable, while casting the Islamists as the chief culprits of Tunisia’s ills. Deservedly or not, a large number of Tunisians seem to agree. “People don’t care about Ennahda’s problems. There is almost a sense of relief over Ennahda getting what people see as just desserts,” Boutar said in an interview with Al-Monitor.

Perhaps the most telling indictment of all is that the Free Destourian Party led by Abir Moussi, an unabashed advocate of toppled dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, is currently leading the polls. “The Muslim Brothers, we no longer want them and we never want them ever again,” Moussi told Al-Monitor during an interview at her party’s headquarters. “They should be banned.”

Ghannouchi’s last hurrah?

Even before Saied’s auto-golpe, the knives were out for Ennahda.

“Over the years their failures in governance, which were only dwarfed by the failure of other parties, became apparent and their popularity dropped. So every time you have unrest in Tunisia, which is frequent, protesting crowds are as likely to attack the local police station as they are likely to attack local Ennahda headquarters to vent their anger,” Lawrence noted.

The death in July 2019 of Beji Cais Essebsi, the secular former president whose cohabitation with Ghannouchi marked a period of relative calm, gave Ennahda’s enemies fresh life.

Within the party itself, opponents of Ghannouchi’s compromising stance grew more vocal.

Last year over 100 members, including several senior figures, called for his resignation in a joint petition and quit the party when he refused.

“After the coup we went to Ghannouchi and said we need to reform. I asked him to step down. He refused,” said Abdellatif Mekki, a former health minister who signed the petition and left to form his own party. “We were supposed to have a congress in 2020 to elect a new leader. His mandate had ended. But he held onto power. Tens of people have left. If there is no reform, there can be no future,” Mekki told Al-Monitor.

“I want deep change, not just window dressing,” said Lourimi, who also signed the petition.

“As a political party we elected him and in the same way we will choose a new leader. Any political party needs new blood,” said Ennahda official Mariam Binnour as she stood outside the security building where Ghannouchi was being held.

In truth, by the neighborhood’s standards, Ghannouchi is anything but a despot. Noureddine Arbaoui, who was among the 100 petitioners, continues to retain his position as head of the political bureau. “As you can see I am here sitting before you saying it’s time for Sheikh Ghannouchi to step aside and I still have my job,” Arbaoui acknowledged with a grin.

Through his hounding of Ghannouchi, Saied may unwittingly or not have thrown his bete noir something of a lifeline. The party has rallied behind his calls to prioritize Tunisia’s democracy and resist Saied, who is “the face of the counter-revolution.”

Emerging from his last interrogation session at the counterterrorism headquarters near Tunis’ Carthage International Airport on Sept. 21, Ghannouchi looked crumpled but erect as he flashed victory signs at supporters gathered to greet him. “Freedom, Freedom! The police state is over! Down with the coup,” they chanted as police in riot gear looked on.

In a Sept. 23 interview at Ennahda’s headquarters in Tunis’ Montplaisir neighborhood, Ghannouchi seemed a diminished man, his head bowed as he sat at his desk. His voice was faltering, his hands were trembling, yet his message was clear. He had no intention of stepping down. “I will carry out my duties until June 2023,” when Ennahda’s next party congress is set to be held, he told Al-Monitor, mustering the broad engaging smile that swayed thousands of Tunisians for long years.

Dirty deals

The story of how Tunisia’s biggest and most influential party went from winning power with around 1.5 million votes in 2011 — that’s four times as many as the first runner-up — to scraping roughly a third as many in the last parliamentary elections in 2019, is tightly intertwined with how the country’s democracy went from being the envy of the post-Arab Spring world to a phantom on life support.

Two themes dominate the hostility being leveled against Ennahda. One is that it sought to bring the country under Islamist rule. The effort, by this telling, was in full swing between 2011 and 2013, when the country was shaken by extremist violence marked by by the assassinations of two prominent secular leaders. The Ennahda-led government said it had evidence that Ansar al-Sharia, an extremist militia with ties to al-Qaeda, had carried out the murders and banned the outfit. Yet nine years on, Ennahda continues to be dogged by allegations of complicity with the group.

The other is that Ennahda wrecked the economy through a mix of incompetence, corruption and greed. Hamma Hammami, a leftish politician, recently called it “the Ennahda syndrome” — one that views the party “as responsible for every problem, no matter what.”

Never mind that Ennahda was the junior partner in a coalition with secular parties for eight of the past 11 years, compromising its ideological principles arguably more than any of its Islamist peers.

Ghannouchi’s trademark pragmatism, inspired by the bloody suppression of fellow Islamists in neighboring Algeria and deepened by the violent overthrow in 2013 of Mohammed Morsi in Egypt, oiled the historic December 2013 pact with Essebsi, who was elected president in December 2014.

The deal struck between the “two sheikhs” behind closed doors saw the adoption of a new democratic constitution free of any Islamist language lobbied for by Ennahda hard-liners and the establishment of a coalition government between their respective parties, in which Ennahda took a junior role.

The entente had the support of the so-called quartet comprising the all-powerful Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT) and three other civil society groups that was hailed as a model and crowned with a Nobel Peace award.

To many, it now looks like more of a dirty deal struck between self-serving elites at the expense of ordinary Tunisians.

Early on, the lack of transparency and a partial amnesty for former regime figures cast a pall and led to fierce internal debates within Ennahda. Public sympathy over the unspeakable horrors endured by the Islamists under the previous regime has worn thin.

“We were saddled with other people’s grime,” said Mekki, the Ennahda defector.

“What was keeping democracy on track was a sort of Tunisian-style pact of transition whereby each side was protecting the other side’s ability to maneuver,” said Lawrence, the former US diplomat. “The going joke about it was ‘You keep me out of jail I’ll keep you out of jail,’” Lawrence told Al-Monitor.

Ordinary Tunisians were indisputably freer but no richer.

Human rights on empty stomachs

Endemic corruption, poverty and a lack of opportunity and social justice were among the main drivers of Tunisia’s 2011 Jasmine Revolution. Economically speaking, 11 years on, things are worse.

“Chicken is 15 dinars per kilo. Before, you could get a whole chicken for 15 dinars and in Ben Ali’s time, a chicken was three dinars. The revolution only harmed us,” fumed a butcher in El Kabaria, a slum in southern Tunis.

“Tunisians’ expectations were so high after the revolution with respect to economic gains, however the harvest was not good for many,” Ghannouchi acknowledged.

Many Ennahda leaders point the finger of blame at the UGTT. Arbaoui said, “They organized 30,000 strikes in the first two years. They paralyzed the country.”

The current government is desperate to reach a deal with the International Monetary Fund for a bailout. The IMF is demanding UGTT buy in as a prerequisite for any deal. The union has long resisted demands to cap public sector wage hikes, shave food subsidies and other harsh measures that would deepen public suffering but without which IMF officials insist the economy cannot recover. Hopes of an accord rose when the UGTT agreed to a lower increase in public sector wages than it was initially seeking.

This week, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said an agreement would be reached "very soon." However, the union signaled that the concession was a one-off and that collective action may ensue. “When there are painful choices, we will be with our people in the front lines of the struggle and in the streets," UGTT leader Noureddine Taboubi, said in a recent speech.

Unemployment, which according to the World Bank stood at 18.4% in the last quarter of 2021, has soared while the value of the Tunisian dinar has plunged below pre-2011 levels. Annual inflation is running at more than 8%. Tourism, a critical hard currency earner, has yet to fully recover from a series of Islamic State and al-Qaeda-linked attacks that killed scores of foreign tourists.

The former government’s clumsy handling of the COVID-19 panemic, which claimed nearly 30,000 lives, added to public incandescence. The wars in Libya and more recently in Ukraine dealt further blows, prompting ever more Tunisians to risk their lives aboard rickety boats to get to Italy. A growing number are opting to travel by air via Turkey and Serbia on what is known as the Balkan route.

The political gains of the revolution were nonetheless “great,” Ghannouchi asserted. But a hostile media backed by assorted lobbies whose interests were threatened downplayed the gains. “We failed in convincing public opinion that we were operating in very hard circumstances,” Ghannouchi told Al-Monitor.

“Now people have lost those freedoms and gained nothing in economic terms,” Ghannouchi added. He believes that it won’t be long before Tunisians decide once again to take fate in their own hands, which will bring the country’s aspiring dictator down. “It’s a matter of time before the people will react en masse. There is a real expectation that the Kais Saied regime can collapse before the year ends.”

These are uncharted waters for Tunisia and it’s hard to fathom what extremes Saied may resort to and where the army stands. But the economy may yet prove his undoing, and already there are signs of popular unrest. On Sept. 25 hundreds of protesters took to the streets in Douar Hicher, a gritty low-income neighborhood in Tunis, shouting, “Jobs, freedom, national dignity.”

For the first time in recent memory, basic staples such as bottled water, coffee, flour and cooking oil are in short supply because the state, which subsidizes them, can no longer cough up the cash. When asked by a reporter whether sugar was available, an employee at the giant French-owned supermarket Carrefour responded, “We don’t have any sugar and I don’t know when we will.”

Health care and education are in steady decline. The stench of uncollected garbage rising above the city has become a symbol for the country’s chronically unaddressed woes.

For many the only bright spot on this otherwise bleak horizon is Ons Jabeur, the tennis star and Wimbledon finalist who fellow Tunisians have nicknamed “Wazirat Essaada,” or “The Ministry of Bliss.”

Bikinis or bourkinis?

Yet even with his popularity ebbing, a sizable number of Tunisians still give Saied the benefit of the doubt.

“I voted for Kais Saied in the last [2019 presidential] election because he is a good and honest man,” said Dorsaf Mridi, a 39-year-old mother of three as she shopped for vegetables in El Kabaria. “Yes, there is disappointment in Saied, but Ennahda was a total failure,” she told Al-Monitor. She used to vote for them, “but never again,” Mridi vowed.

“Before the revolution I earned well. Today I can barely survive. I voted for Ennahda, then for Essebsi, then again for Ennahda the last time. Corruption and theft only increased,” said Mohammed Klibi, a 54-year-old casual laborer. “Maybe it’s a good thing for the future that they close all the political parties,” he told Al-Monitor.

“Kais Saied is doing a great job,” said Dora Saidi, a high school student who was playing hooky with her girlfriends at an outdoor café in the Medina. “Police used to harass us over our clothing, even sexually, calling us indecent. Ennahda allowed all this,” Shahd Chaouachi, 18, chimed in.

Some prominent civil society figures who welcomed Saied’s dissolution of parliament but decried his subsequent power grab, agree that Ennahda sought to impose Islamist mores. Sami Tahri, a senior UGTT leader, told Al-Monitor, “Ennahda wanted a religious society, with legal references to the Quran and the like. And Ghannouchi, I can tell you, he was behind everything.”

Houssem Hammi, general coordinator for the Soumoud coalition of civil rights groups, agreed. “Democracy was a trampoline for their agenda. Salafists popped up like mushrooms all over the place,” he recalled. “They were even directing traffic here,” Hammi asserted during an interview at a trendy café in the upscale Al Marsa neighborhood. “Can you imagine?”

Ennahda’s reluctance to draw a clear line between itself and violent extremists in the first messy years of its rule clearly fed mistrust. And its caricaturization of the real lifestyle concerns of secular Tunisians and of women in particular, conflating them with old regime “lobbies,” was another strategic gaffe.

“Too much time was wasted discussing what ought to be the role of religion in the constitution, et cetera. That was not the priority of the people,” said Boutar, the media boss.

Even today, Nahdaouis who might be labeled moderates on the Islamist spectrum blithely defend informal Islamic inheritance laws whereby sons continue to inherit twice as much as daughters.

All of this obscured many of the bold positions Ghannouchi, who spent long years in exile in London, subsequently embraced. They include backing some of the region’s most progressive gender laws enshrined in the 2014 constitution and promoting women within the party itself.

“The ambiguity of its relationship with Ansar al-Sharia while trying to portray themselves as allies of the security establishment, this effort to hold a middle ground was problematic from the start,” said Fadil Aliriza, founder and editor-in-chief of Meshkal.org, an independent news website covering Tunisia in English and Arabic. “And they didn’t have a clear vision of how to run the economy,” Aliriza told Al-Monitor. “They are organizationally coherent and nationally present, but far less important than they used to be.”

Yet, with the rest of the opposition still fragmented, there is no party that can rival its reach. “It’s got cadres all over the country,” Lawrence said.

Many Nahdaouis would say that their total lack of experience was their biggest handicap of all.

“Ennahda had no project to govern, no intellectual or technocratic cadres. They were used to being critical of power, not exercising it,” said Hmida Ennaifer, a leading intellectual who founded the Tunisia’s Islamist movement with Ghannouchi and Abdelfattah Mourou. He split from the movement in in 1979 over its deepening ties with the Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and believes Ennahda should never have taken power to start with because its “Islamist ideology was bound to collide with the realities of the modern state.”

Moreover, “They were so busy proving they were not Islamic fundamentalists that they didn't convey who they actually were or what they represented,” Ennaifer told Al-Monitor.

For some Nahdaouis, however, the pragmatism did not go far enough. Ahmed Gaaloul, a member of Ennahda’s Shura Council and a Ghannouchi loyalist, reckons that Ennahda should have pushed for blanket amnesty for all regime officials and their business allies potentially facing prosecution from the get go. By the same token, their victims should have been fully compensated as envisaged by the now defunct but once promising Truth and Dignity Commission. Getting sucked into the horse-trading over both was “a fatal flaw,” Gaaloul told Al-Monitor.

Source: Al Monitor

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

https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2022/10/tunisias-islamists-under-siege-saied-rolls-back-democracy

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Sudan’s pro-democracy groups ask UN to help contain paramilitary forces

04 October, 2022

Sudanese pro-democracy groups will ask the country’s United Nations mission to help them integrate a paramilitary force and former rebel factions into a unified army, or disarm and demobilize them, according to a draft letter seen by Reuters.

The letter, drafted by the Confederation of Sudanese Civil Society Organizations, is backed by the main political groups sidelined in an October 2021 coup that ended a power-sharing arrangement between civilians and the military, its authors said.

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The coup derailed a transition toward democratic elections after the overthrow of Omar al-Bashir in a 2019 uprising. It also triggered anti-military street rallies that protest groups are planning to intensify around the coup’s Oct. 25 anniversary.

The appeal, which supporters said would be sent in the coming days to the UN Special Representative in Sudan, Volker Perthes, focuses on the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), and former rebel groups that established a presence in the capital, Khartoum, after signing a peace deal in 2020.

The letter asks the mission, known as UNITAMS, to develop an urgent plan to “initiate processes for reintegration, demobilization and disarmament of the Rapid Support Forces and the armed movements.”

The number of armies and militias in Sudan threatens peace and security in the region and containing them was “one of the core competencies of the UN Security Council,” it says.

It also noted a pledge in July by the head of Sudan’s ruling council, military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, to step aside from political negotiations.

Burhan’s deputy, RSF leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, said last month Sudan’s military leaders agreed that civilians should appoint a prime minister and head of state.

UNITAMS, in a statement to Reuters, said Perthes “agrees with both military and civilian actors who see security sector reform and the integration of armed forces into one unified army as a priority issue that needs to begin in a new transition period.”

“The United Nations stands ready to support developing such a process if asked to,” it said.

No new prime minister has been named since the coup, while the letter said security forces continued to perpetrate “excessive and unprecedented violence” against peaceful protesters with impunity.

Military leaders have said peaceful protests are allowed and protest casualties will be investigated. They also said that they disbanded the government last year because of civilian infighting.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/10/04/Sudan-s-pro-democracy-groups-ask-UN-to-help-contain-paramilitary-forces
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African Union invites Ethiopia’s government, Tigray forces to peace talks

05 October, 2022

The African Union has invited Ethiopia’s government and rival Tigray forces to peace talks in South Africa this weekend aimed at ending a two-year conflict, in a letter seen by Reuters.

Three diplomatic sources, speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed the authenticity of the October 1 letter, written by AU Commission Chair Moussa Faki to Debretsion Gebremichael, who leads Tigray’s ruling political party.

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One of the sources said neither side had yet confirmed its participation.

Contacted by Reuters, Getachew Reda, a spokesman for Debretsion Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) said he was not aware of imminent talks.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2022/10/05/African-Union-invites-Ethiopia-s-government-Tigray-forces-to-peace-talks

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Uganda’s president fires son from military over threat on Twitter to invade Kenya

Godfrey Olukya

05.10.2022

KAMPALA, Uganda

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni fired his son as commander of the country’s land forces after he threatened on Twitter to seize neighboring Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.

The Ugandan government also distanced itself from the spate of tweets posted Monday by Lt. General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, with the Foreign Ministry issuing a statement Tuesday stressing that the government and people of Uganda treasure the country’s strong bilateral relations with Kenya based on the two nations’ “shared history, common values, mutual respect, trust and the desire to build a unified East African Community.”

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has noted the debate on social media in respect to the relationship between Uganda and Kenya. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to clarify that the government of the Republic of Uganda does not conduct its foreign policy and other official business through social media,” it added.

In the unprovoked tweets, Kainerugaba claimed his army could seize Nairobi in a very short time.

“It wouldn’t take us, my army and me, 2 weeks to capture Nairobi,” he said.

Kainerugaba, dubbed “the tweeting general” of Uganda, has made controversial remarks on Twitter in the past.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/uganda-s-president-fires-son-from-military-over-threat-on-twitter-to-invade-kenya/2702753

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Pakistan

 

Armed forces to stay out of politics, says Gen Bajwa

Anwar Iqbal

October 5, 2022

WASHINGTON: Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa assured the nation on Tuesday that the armed forces have distanced themselves from politics and want to remain so.

The army chief also reiterated his pledge to leave after the completion of his second three-year term in two months, saying that he would do as he promised earlier. He made these remarks at a lunch at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington.

According to the people who attended, Gen Bajwa addressed the gathering before the lunch and then also made informal remarks while talking to his guests. He reminded the nation that reviving the country’s ailing economy should be the first priority of all segments of society, adding that without a strong economy the nation would not be able to achieve its targets.

“There could be no diplomacy either without a strong economy,” said the army chief in his address to an audience which included a large number of Pakistani diplomats.

After the lunch, Gen Bajwa went to the Pentagon for a meeting with US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin.

According to the ISPR, Gen Bajwa called on retired General Lloyd James Austin III, Secretary of Defence; Jacob Jeremiah Sullivan, National Security Adviser; and Wendy Ruth Sherman, Deputy Secretary of State.

During the meetings, matters of mutual of interest, regional security situation and bilateral cooperation in various fields were discussed.

The army chief thanked the US officials for their support and reiterated that assistance from “our global partners shall be vital for rescue/rehabilitation of the flood victims in Pakistan”.
Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1713477/armed-forces-to-stay-out-of-politics-says-gen-bajwa

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Attock jail employees rape, harass women visitors: report

Mohammad Asghar

October 5, 2022

RAWALPINDI: The Provincial Intelligence Centre (PIC), in a report, has accused some Attock district jail employees of raping and sexually harassing women visiting prisoners.

It also revealed that drug use had become widespread in Attock jail due to presence of powerful mafias on its premises.

The PIC field staff conducted discreet inquiry into the affairs of the district jail and submitted the report to Inspector General of Prisons Mirza Shahid Saleem Baig on Sept 30.

The allegation by a jail employee about involvement of some staffers in sexual harassment and rape of women visiting convicts was the most horrifying, the report said.

“This is quite disturbing and can lead to a scandal that will reflect poorly on the Punjab administration,” it added.

The PIC field staff recommended an inquiry into the affairs of the district jail by a high-powered committee headed by an upright and honest officer in the rank of an additional secretary.

The jail staff found guilty of violating the jail manual or involved in torture, corruption, extortion and sexual harassment should be punished, said the report.

It also recommended that the dignity and privacy of women visitors to the jail must be safeguarded and female staff should solely be responsible to handle them.

“Besides, all detainees must be protected from sexual abuse and harassment,” the report said, adding that the district jail was rife with unchecked corruption and malpractices committed in connivance with jail officials.

“A girl who visits the jail to see one of the inmates supplies drugs to the prisoners.A pack of charas worth Rs500 outside is sold for Rs3,000 to Rs3,500 inside the prison,” the report said.

“Powerful mafias of drug peddlers have deep roots inside the jail with the support of jail administration and are making unchecked profit by selling contraband. And they also pay due share to the jail management,” the report said.

It also stated that some people being held in jail on drug-related offences had started the heinous business of selling drugs to addicts with the support of jail staff.

The report said prisoners were reportedly allowed to get food of their choice from outside after paying bribe to the staff, adding that rich and well-off prisoners manage to get themselves admitted to government hospitals outside the jail after bribing jail officials.

Meeting between prisoners and their family members has become a lucrative business for jail staffers.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1713561/attock-jail-employees-rape-harass-women-visitors-report
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Educational institutions shouldn’t be made ‘political arenas’: PHC

October 5, 2022

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday expressed displeasure with the holding of a political meeting in an educational institution here and asked the advocate general to convey its concern about it to the provincial government.

A bench consisting of Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Syed M Attique Shah observed that holding public meetings in educational institutions was deplorable and that those institutions shouldn’t be turned into political arenas.

Without naming the Peshawar’s historical Edwardes College, where former prime minister and PTI chief Imran Khan addressed students and used ‘offensive language’ against political rivals, the bench observed that if a party was permitted to hold a meeting in an educational institution, its rivals would follow the suit to the disadvantage of students enrolled there.

It bench asked advocate general Shumail Ahmad Butt to convey the court’s concern to the government.

Court deplores public meetings in educational institutions

The issue was taken up by the bench while hearing a petition of Hayatabad Township resident Iftikhar Ahmad Malik, who sought orders for halt to heavy vehicular traffic, including trucks and shipping containers, through some residential parts of the township.

While hearing that case, the bench addressed assistant advocate general Sophia Noreen and observed that traffic jams on roads next to the high court and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly had become a routine.

The chief justice observed that a bunch of protesters occupied roads near the Rehman Baba Chowk, which caused the suspension of vehicular traffic for many hours.

The bench summoned AG Shumail Ahmad Butt and asked him whether the police had failed in maintaining smooth flow of traffic.

The bench asked the AG that the government should have designated a place for holding protests instead of allowing protesters to gather on the Khyber Road, a major artery in the provincial capital.

The AG assured the bench that he would hold a meeting with the inspector general of police and the representatives of the government to address the issue of road blockades.

He said as the IGP had gone to the federal capital to attend hearing into a case before the Islamabad High Court, he won’t be able to meet him on Tuesday.

The AG said he would hold a meeting with the police chief at the earliest.

The bench observed that while designating a place for protests, the government should ensure that that spot should not be located close to any educational institution.

It added that it had noted that a political party recently held a public meeting in an educational institution, which was not a wise step.

The AG assured the bench that he would convey the concern of the court on the matter to the government for consideration.

He said whenever the court had issued directives on issues, the government had complied with them wholeheartedly.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1713541/educational-institutions-shouldnt-be-made-political-arenas-phc

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Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif calls Imran Khan 'biggest liar on earth'

Oct 5, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif called his predecessor, Imran Khan, a cheat and the “biggest liar on the face of the earth”, whose policies, according to him, had left the country’s economy in ruins.

In an interview with a British newspaper, The Guardian, on Monday, Sharif spoke at length about Khan, saying he had caused immense damage to the country’s domestic and foreign affairs.

“Never before was I concerned about our country’s future. Imran has injected an infinite amount of poison in this society and made it hugely polarized as never before … he is distorting facts and creating hate,” Sharif said.

Referring to Khan’s purported audios discussing a cipher message from Washington, the prime minister said they were “an irrefutable endorsement that he (Imran) is the biggest liar on the face of the earth”.

He alleged that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief had managed the country’s affairs in a way that benefitted his “own personal agenda” and “in a manner which can be only described as the most inexperienced, self-centred, egotistical (and) immature politician in the history of this country”.

“I’m not saying this with a sense of glee but a sense of embarrassment and concern. My country’s image has been damaged hugely by these lies told out of mean personal interest,” Sharif said.

Following Khan’s ouster from office in April, he made repeated allegations that the vote of no-confidence against him was a US conspiracy and presented minutes of a diplomatic cable from Washington as proof of his claim.

Last week, two audio recordings of private informal conversations, held by Khan in his office when he was the prime minister, were leaked on social media.

In both the clips, Khan could be heard discussing how to cook up a conspiracy about a foreign threat and saying they would now “play with the diplomatic cable”.

PM Sharif said his forerunner would have to be “held accountable for all these conscious criminal acts”, referring to the alleged discussion between Imran and his principal secretary and ministers in the leak of how to use the cipher for political gains.

Sharif said he was “shocked”, when several world leaders, who he refused to name, had personally raised Khan’s conduct with him during the UN General Assembly in New York last month.

“Some leaders told me in person about his personality,” Sharif said. “They told me he was rude, he told lies, and he is a ‘narcissist’, quote unquote,” Sharif said.

He spoke of his efforts to rebuild relations with several of Pakistan’s foreign allies, which were seen to nosedive after 2018, when Khan came into office.

“Khan has damaged Pakistan’s relations with the United States for no rhyme or reason,” Sharif said.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-pm-shehbaz-sharif-calls-imran-khan-biggest-liar-on-earth/articleshow/94651536.cms

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Imran gunning for ‘NRO’ at clandestine meetings, says Maryam

Zulqernain Tahir | Sheharyar Rizwan

October 5, 2022

LAHORE: PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday accused former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan of attempting to seek an “NRO” (a reference to relief in court cases) from the powers that be during “secret meetings” at the Presidency.

During a press conference held hours after receiving her passport from the Lah­ore High Court, Ms Sharif alluded to speculation that Mr Khan had met Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the Presidency last month. The meeting was said to have been brokered by President Arif Alvi.

When asked during a TV interview earlier this week, the PTI chief had neither denied nor confirmed the meeting.

On Tuesday, Ms Sharif was of the view that Imran Khan was making a hue and cry after failing to get any relief from the establishment. “He wants them to sup­port him, and when they don’t he starts targeting them in public,” she remarked.

Furthermore, commenting on the dismissal of the contempt of court show-cause notice against Mr Khan, she said she respected Justice Athar Minallah of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) for the decision, “but I want to tell the judiciary respectfully that generosity cannot be shown to people like him”.

“Do you realise what you’re encouraging by pardoning such people? After this anyone can bully, abuse or threaten a woman in public gatherings and then apologise, and then you’ll have to forgive them. This means (PML-N leaders) Talal Chaudhry, Daniyal Aziz and Nehal Hashmi should be forgiven, and they should be too because they didn’t do anything, they’re political people. But Imran has been emboldened by this (decision),” she added.

Regarding the return of former premier and her father Nawaz Sharif to the country, she said the way for his return had been cleared (in the wake of a court decision in the Avenfield apartments reference) and it was up to him to decide when to come back.

She said Nawaz Sharif just needed to file an application in the court in this case and his way was clear.

“In the days to come, I will put all efforts into making sure that Imran Khan is sent behind bars for his crimes. I am happy that he is not convicted for contempt as he is facing far more serious allegations of foreign funding, Toshakhana and the cipher plot.”

When asked if the elder Sharif would return along with her in November or December, Ms Sharif said: “I wish he returns with me as I am going to London very soon to see my father and brothers after three years.” She added she also had to undergo surgery for a “rare disease” there. “I will come back after fighting fit.”

Last week, the IHC had acquitted Ms Sharif and her spouse retired Capt Safdar of the charges levelled in the Aven­field apartments reference, setting aside an accountability court’s July 2018 verdict.

According to a PML-N insider, party supremo Nawaz would finalise the plan for his return once he got relief in the Al-Azizia case in which he is facing seven-year imprisonment. “A clean chit in both cases will pave the way for the three-time premier’s return,” he said. Nawaz has been living in self-imposed exile in the UK since Nov 2019.

Maryam also wanted Mr Khan to face similar treatment that was meted out to her and her father.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1713463

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US cannot walk away from Pakistan: report

October 5, 2022

WASHINGTON: The United States and Pakistan need to rebuild a modest but pragmatic relationship, based on mutual respect for each other’s interests, and not on exaggerated expectations, says a report released on Tuesday.

The report, prepared by a dozen American scholars of South Asian affairs associated with the Pakistan Study Group (PSG), Washington, has been released a day before Pakistan’s Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa is expected to meet US scholars and think-tank experts at the Pakistan Embassy.

The paper warns American policy makers that they cannot afford to walk away from a country that involves three key regions — South Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East — and has borders with China and Iran and is close to Russia.

The authors include a former US secretary of state for South Asia, two former US ambassadors to Pakistan, a former Pakistani ambassador to the US and other senior diplomats who have worked in Pakistan, and American scholars specialising in South Asia.

According to this paper, a modest, pragmatic relationship between the US and Pakistan would involve understanding that Pakistan and the US will “continue to see Afghanistan through different lens but can cooperate in maintaining peace in that country and alleviating its people’s suffering”.

It also reminds American policymakers that “attitudes toward India at both the elite and popular levels in Pakistan will, at best, change slowly”.

The report also notes that “public opinion in both the US and Pakistan acts as constraints on bilateral relations”.

The United States, however, can still induce Pakistan to change its overall strategic calculus, which is based on Pakistan’s understanding of its security environment, it added.

The paper acknowledges that the United States and Pakistan have divergent views on China and recommends “a more nuanced US policy on Pakistan”.

The authors argue that the US engagement with Pakistan would benefit if it were based on a realistic appraisal of Pakistan’s policies, aspirations, and worldview.

“There is a need to acknowledge that inducements or threats will not result in securing change in Pakistan’s strategic direction,” the authors warn.

They remind Washington that “it is not in American national security interests to isolate Pakistan or irreparably breach the relationship.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1713476/us-cannot-walk-away-from-pakistan-report

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Govt to call out army in case of march on capital

October 5, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Just a day after Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry claimed all the arrangements for his party’s long march to the federal capital were in their final stages, the government decided to call out army and deploy troops in Islamabad if PTI chief Imran Khan gave a call for the march.

The decision was taken on Tuesday at a meeting, chaired by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, held to evolve a strategy to tackle the much-trumpeted march by the PTI.

Official sources told Dawn that Pakistan Army would be deployed in the capital city’s Red Zone to stop the entry of protestors in the high security area. The meeting decided that the security of all important buildings and the Diplomatic Enclave located in the Red Zone would be handed over to the Pakistan Army during the protest march.

The army troops would be called out in aid of civil administration under Article 245 of the Constitution, which says that “armed forces shall, under the directions of the federal government, defend Pakistan against external aggression or threat of war, and, subject to law, act in aid of civil power when called upon to do so.”

Farmers call off protest after government promises package

PTI Chairman Imran Khan had recently told a gathering in Taxila that his long march would give this time a ‘surprise’ to the government, which was clueless about his plan.

He said the march on Islamabad was aimed at pressing the authorities to hold early elections. While he has yet to give a final date of the protest, he has repeatedly said the government would find itself unable to control the ‘sea of people’ if and when they reach Islamabad on his call.

At the meeting, it was decided that Sindh police and personnel of paramilitary forces, including Pakistan Rangers and Frontier Constabulary (FC), would be requisitioned to assist the capital police force during the protest.

As many as 30,000 personnel of Islamabad and Sindh police, Rangers and FC would be available to ensure law and order, the interior minister told the meeting.

The meeting was also briefed by security agencies about the planned long march. The participants were told that 15,000 to 20,000 protesters might take part in it.

It formally gave approval for ‘action’ against the individuals and organisations that would provide financial and logistic support to the PTI protest. There would be a complete ban on carrying firearms in the jurisdiction of Islamabad during the protest.

Necessary instructions were issued to ensure free movement of residents and to make sure that schools and hospitals of Islamabad remain functional during the march. It was also decided that the government employees assisting the marchers would be identified and acted against under the Estacode, a government’s book of rules and regulations to run all federal institutions.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1713478/govt-to-call-out-army-in-case-of-march-on-capital

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Security forces kill four terrorists in Tank clash: ISPR

October 4, 2022

RAWALPINDI: The security forces on Tuesday killed four terrorists during intense exchange of fire carried out in general area of Tank, South Waziristan District.

The clash occurred as security troops observed and engaged terrorists’ movement in general area of Tank, an Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) news release said.

The security troops also recovered weapons and ammunition from the killed terrorists.

Source: Pakistan Today

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https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2022/10/04/security-forces-kill-four-terrorists-in-tank-clash-ispr/

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South Asia

 

Fading Afghan Media Give Space to Disinformation

October 04, 2022

Akmal Dawi

The Taliban have weakened and censored the media inside Afghanistan, but their communications faults and governance shortcomings still receive widespread exposure on social platforms.

Last week, the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) dismissed as false a statement made by Khalid Hanafi, who runs the Taliban's Ministry for Propagation of Virtue and Prohibition of Vice.

"Yesterday we had a meeting with UNAMA and when we explained to them the fostering of virtues, they said this fostering of virtue is also needed in Europe," Hanafi had said in a video widely circulated on social media.

"UNAMA has, of course, said no such thing," the U.N. mission said in a tweet.

"Never would I say that," Markus Potzel, deputy head of UNAMA, tweeted separately.

Last month, the Taliban's former education minister, Noorullah Munir, claimed that in some parts of the country parents were not allowing their teenage girls to attend secondary schools.

In reality, the Taliban have closed secondary schools for girls, saying only religious scholars can decide when and whether they can be reopened.

Such statements by Taliban officials are not exceptional.

"The Taliban have a long history in spreading disinformation," Wahed Faqiri, an Afghan American analyst, told VOA.

Until July 2015, the Taliban issued misleading public statements in the name of their supreme leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, whose death in April 2013 had been kept secret, Faqiri said.

The Taliban have confirmed covering up Omar's death for over two years but said they did so out of strategic necessity, as they were fighting U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Invisible rulers

Under the Taliban, the once flourishing Afghan media have suffered major losses.

Up to 80% of female Afghan journalists have lost their jobs and the rest face serious restrictions, such as being required to wear a face mask while presenting programs on television.

In recent years, more than 215 of the country's 540 media outlets have closed because of financial, social and political problems, according to the organization Reporters Without Borders.

"We can't even see the Taliban leader, so how can we report factually on his leadership and decisions?" said one senior Afghan journalist in Kabul, who preferred anonymity out of fear he could be targeted by the Taliban.

The Taliban's current supreme leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada, has not appeared in public since assuming the position. Akhundzada's appointed chief minister and his deputies, while seen in officially released videos, have not appeared in any media interviews to answer questions about their governance.

"Communication in the Taliban regime is one way. They just say what they want to say, but never answer our questions," said the Afghan journalist.

While Taliban officials claim their leadership is more accountable and popular than that of the former Afghan Republic, independent surveys conducted in the country present a different picture.

The Taliban's return to power in Afghanistan has led to "unprecedented" suffering among Afghans, according to a recent Gallup poll, which said 94% of Afghans "rated their lives poorly enough to be considered suffering."

Before the Taliban seized power, about 85% of Afghans said they had no sympathy for the Taliban, according to the 2019 survey of Afghanistan by the Asia Foundation.

Fact-checking

This week, UNAMA sent a team to Panjshir Province in the north of Afghanistan to authenticate allegations of serious human rights violations by Taliban fighters.

The U.N. delegation was deployed after purported videos of Taliban gunmen shooting at prisoners of war surfaced on social media.

Some Taliban officials have flatly denied human rights violations in Panjshir and other parts of the country, but UNAMA has said, "Reports of alleged killing of detainees by Taliban appear credible."

Given the losses suffered and restrictions imposed on Afghan media, the U.N. is often perceived as the only credible authority to fact-check and report major events in Afghanistan.

"Journalists and researchers mainly depend on the online medium [primarily vibrant social media] and local personal contacts for authenticity check of news, but that is a complicated process, unfortunately not possible for every journalist and researcher," Abdul Sayed, a Sweden-based independent researcher on jihadism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, told VOA.

None of the Taliban's numerous official accounts on social platforms is verified, as U.S.-based providers such as Google, Meta and Twitter deny Taliban platforms.

Source: VOA News

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

https://www.voanews.com/a/fading-afghan-media-give-space-to-disinformation-/6775911.html

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Three dead after Rohingya refugee boat sinks off Bangladesh

Oct 4, 2022

COX'S BAZAR, BANGLADESH: At least three people drowned and nearly 20 others were missing off the Bangladesh coast after a boat carrying Rohingya refugees sank in rough weather on Tuesday, authorities said.

Dire conditions in Bangladesh's refugee camps prompt hundreds each year to pay smugglers for passage out of the country.

The fishing trawler left at dawn and was bound for Malaysia before it ran into trouble in the Bay of Bengal, with two coast guard search boats scrambling to rescue survivors.

Police said at least three bodies had washed ashore at the coastal town of Halbunia.

"We recovered the bodies. They are three young Rohingya women aged between 18 and 20," police inspector Nur Mohammad told AFP.

Coast guard station commander Ashiq Ahmed said the vessel was believed to be carrying around 65 people after stopping at several coastal towns before embarking.

"We have rescued 45 people including 41 Rohingya refugees and four Bangladeshis," he told AFP.

"Nearly 20 people are still missing. The rescue operation is still going," he added.

The boat sank off the coast of Cox's Bazar district, near the site of sprawling camps that are home to around a million Rohingya refugees.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/three-dead-after-rohingya-refugee-boat-sinks-off-bangladesh/articleshow/94640554.cms

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Taliban Visits Families of Education Centre Explosion Victims

By Saqalain Eqbal

04 Oct 2022

The Chief of Staff to the Taliban Ministry of Interior Affairs met with the families of the victims of the Kaaj education center explosion in the Hazara neighborhood of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, the ministry stated.

According to the Taliban Interior Ministry’s announcement, the chief of staff of the ministry, Zain Ullah Aber, visited the families of Kaaj tragedy victims to convey the condolences and sympathies of the Acting Minister of Interior, Sirajuddin Haqqani.

Mawlawi Ibrahim, the deputy Taliban police chief for the Kabul province, stated in the video released by the ministry that the attackers’ goal in the latest incident, the Kaaj tragedy, was to harm all Muslims.

Having said that harming Muslims was the intention, the Taliban security official claimed that the enmity does not distinguish between Sunnis and Shiites Muslims.

A suicide bomber struck the Kaaj tutoring institution in the Hazara neighborhood of west Kabul early on Friday, the 30th of September.

After releasing the preliminary figures of 19 dead and 27 injured from the deadly explosion west of Kabul, the Taliban Ministry of Interior has not yet provided the updated numbers.

Nevertheless, for the first time, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has taken action and released updated figures on the casualties of the suicide attack on the Kaaj education center.

The attack claimed the lives of at least 53 people, including 46 young girls, and injured an additional 110, according to the UNAMA figures posted on its official Twitter page.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/taliban-visits-families-of-education-center-explosion-victims-463645/

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U.S citizen missing in Afghanistan, family claims he is in Taliban custody

04 Oct 2022

An Afghan-American national who had travelled to Afghanistan for working purpose has gone missing in Kabul for over 8 weeks now, a family member said.

Mahmood Shah Habibi, the former Afghan Aviation Authority Chief who had recently travelled to Afghanistan is missing since August 10, Ahmad Shah, Habibi’s brother told Khaama Press.

“He has been working as an advisor with a telecom company in Shash-Darak of Kabul for the last 3 years and he did not have any issues being in Afghanistan after the fall of the country in the hands of Taliban”, Ahmad Shah said.

He used to travel between Afghanistan and the United States in the last 12 months without any problem, but the last time he travelled in August was detained by the Taliban’s forces from his home in Shairpur, Habibi’s brother said.

“Not only Habibi, but 29 other employees of the same company were also arrested on the same day, many of whom were later released”, Ahmad Shah said.

We tried to reach out to the Taliban’s Ministry of Interior and also to the Intelligence Directorate to find out why he has been detained and when will he be released, but they did not provide us any answer, Ahmad Shah added.

According to Habibi’s brother, the incident has been reported to the U.S Department of State to seek the U.S government’s help for his release.

“The U.S Department of State has promised to get in touch with the Taliban and negotiate with them on Habibi’s release, but we have not received any further update from the U.S government yet”, Ahmad Shah said.

A U.S Department of State official speaking to Khaama Press confirmed that they are aware of US citizens being detained in Afghanistan and said they urge US citizens not travel to to Afghanistan as the risk of violence and kidnapping against the U.S citizens are high in Afghanistan.

The U.S government source communicating with Khaama Press did not provide further details on Habibi’s case saying they would not comment due to privacy considerations.

A close source to the Taliban’s administration who does not want to be named in Khaama Press report confirmed that on August 10, the Intelligence Department arrested Mahmood Shah Habibi, the Afghanistan’s former Aviation Authority Chief with several other employees of Asia Consultancy Group (ACG), an Afghan-American company that works in the telecom sector.

The case in the connection of which Mr. Habibi and his colleagues have been arrested is relatively very serious, the source told Khaama Press, but did not provide further details.

This comes as several other former Afghan officials who had returned back to Afghanistan following the statement published by the Taliban’s administration about the safe return of former officials and tribal leaders, many of those whom had returned have reportedly left the country again.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/u-s-citizen-missing-in-afghanistan-family-claims-he-is-in-talibans-custody-87953/

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Southeast Asia

 

Islamic Banks Not Fully Digitised But Are Moving Forward In Achieving The Potential Of Islamic Fintech, Says Shariah Scholar

04 Oct 2022

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4 — Islamic banks are not yet fully digitised but are moving forward in achieving the potential of Islamic fintech, said shariah scholar Tan Sri Mohd Daud Bakar.

The recipient of The Royal Award for Islamic Finance 2022 said Malaysian banks have started the transition of smart technologies into their systems.

“We have to transform everything to digitalisation. After that, I would imagine in the next few years or so, (we can see) some of the back offices, back end and banks’ operations managed by a system that is not tired or biased.

“The system can analyse 24/7 so people can apply for financing and get results at 3 am. So, this is the way forward we are looking at on functional perspective,” he told reporters after the award conferment ceremony here today.

The Royal Award was bestowed to Mohd Daud by Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, accompanied by the Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Shah.

Mohd Daud, who currently serves as Shariah Advisory Council chairman for both Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC), is widely recognised for his contributions to the development of the global Islamic finance industry.

He is a shariah board member of international financial institutions and organisations such as Amundi Asset Management (France), Bank of London and the Middle East, Dow Jones Islamic Market Index (New York), Morgan Stanley (Dubai), and Sedco Capital (Saudi Arabia).

He was also instrumental in developing the first shariah standard on gold issued by the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI).

Mohd Daud has established a few shariah advisory services and fintech companies contributing to shariah-related framework and policies, product structuring, human capital development and technology solutions.

A prominent figure in Islamic finance thought leadership, Mohd Daud is an award-winning author with more than 40 books written in various genres.

His books shed light on modern scholars’ interpretation of shariah rulings and their practical application in the Islamic finance industry.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/money/2022/10/04/islamic-banks-not-fully-digitised-says-shariah-scholar/31625

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Despite Umno’s ultimatum, PAS unlikely to ditch PN, says analyst

October 5, 2022

PETALING JAYA: PAS is likely to remain with Perikatan Nasional (PN) going into the next general election (GE15) despite Umno’s ultimatum to it, said an analyst.

Azmi Hassan of Akademi Nusantara said the reality was that PAS could lose many of the seats it won in the last election if it stuck with PN and went head-to-head with Umno.

However, he said, the Islamic party would not want to be seen as ditching PN just to improve its chances in GE15.

“Umno is in a better position to face GE15 compared with PAS. If PAS wants to remain in government, of course it would be better for it to be with Umno because of the party’s clout among the Malays.

“While there is a possibility that PAS could abandon PN, I believe it is more likely to stick with PN for the election,” he said, adding this was because PAS could still look towards working with Umno after GE15.

He was commenting on Umno’s ultimatum to PAS to choose between it and PN in facing GE15.

Last week, Muhyiddin, who is PN’s chairman declared that PAS would stick with the coalition in the coming polls and that there was “no issue” about the party wanting to leave.

James Chin of the University of Tasmania’s Asia Institute said PAS would likely resist taking sides and continue its effort to bring the two parties together.

“It wants Malay-Muslim unity. PAS was successful in doing this in 2020, so it won’t want to change the formula,” he said.

Chin said PAS might want to let the situation play out on its own.

“Even at the height of its disagreement with Bersatu, where Muhyiddin had thrown a couple of ‘tantrums’, PAS was still willing to talk to Umno.

“I suspect that PAS understands that Bersatu is almost ‘finished’ on the ground, so PAS will attempt to negotiate the best ‘package’ for itself with Umno,” he said.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2022/10/05/despite-umnos-ultimatum-pas-unlikely-to-ditch-pn-says-analyst/

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PAS to meet Umno leaders soon to discuss GE15 cooperation

October 3, 2022

BANTING: PAS will hold a meeting with Umno’s top leaders soon to discuss cooperation between them in the 15th general election (GE15).

PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said the cooperation involved 27 parliamentary seats as well as seats in several states such as Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Penang which they have the potential to win if there was an agreement between them.

“If not on all seats, maybe in certain places. It is not impossible,” he told a press conference in conjunction with the launch of the Selangor PAS election machinery here last night.

However, Tuan Ibrahim said any PAS discussion with parties outside the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition will be reported to the PN presidential council to find the best way for a political consensus.

PAS is a component of PN with other members being Bersatu, Sabah STAR, SAPP and Gerakan.

Commenting on the three conditions set by Umno to PAS for it to return to the negotiating table to face GE15, Tuan Ibrahim said the consensus framework needed to discuss points of commonality.

Yesterday, Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Umno would return to the negotiating table with PAS if it met three conditions. He did not reveal what they were or whether they had been conveyed to the party.

Meanwhile, PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan said the party welcomed Zahid’s statement which expressed his openness to revive the ummah unity agenda following the four-eyed meeting between the presidents of Umno and PAS on Sept 17.

“PAS reiterates its commitment to be together in all efforts towards achieving the unification of the ummah, especially among Malays and Muslims based on Verse 10 of Surah al-Hujurat, which emphasises the issue of peace between Muslims who are at odds in some of their affairs,” he said in a statement.

He also said PAS still hoped that a true unification of the ummah could be realised among the main Malay and Muslim parties in the country.

“PAS hereby takes the stance of studying Umno’s openness in this regard and will make a final decision before this weekend, taking into account the aspects of maslahah (the greater good) and the least mudhorat (risk),” he said.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2022/10/03/pas-to-meet-umno-leaders-soon-to-discuss-ge15-cooperation/

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A confident opposition wouldn’t delay GE15, says Zahid

October 2, 2022

PETALING JAYA: If opposition parties were confident they were in a position of victory, they would not delay holding the next general election by even a minute, says Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

“Never in the history of the Malaysian opposition have they had to make excuse after excuse so that elections are not held.

“So, why should more than 32 million Malaysians allow the opposition, including Nga Kor Ming and DAP, to determine our future?” Zahid said in a Facebook post.

He said opposition parties had been writhing like “worms in a fire” since Umno’s Supreme Council decided that Parliament should be dissolved soon to allow an early general election.

“Fear, confusion, and anxiety are overwhelming the opposition as they approach the people’s judgement on polling day,” he said, adding that this was why Umno had been targetted and accused of disrespecting the Federal Constitution.

“(But) is calling for GE15 defying the constitution or the King?” he said. He added that in all its actions, Umno had been guided by the law and the Federal Constitution “as we’re not your average political party”.

Zahid urged the opposition to stop manipulating the people by spinning lies, as the people already knew the truth.

He also questioned which party it was that tried to sign the Rome Statute and ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which could have affected the power of the Malay Rulers.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2022/10/02/a-confident-opposition-wouldnt-delay-ge15-says-zahid/

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URL:   https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/france-far-right-marine-mosque/d/128112

 

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