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

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Giving election tickets to women against Islam, says Shahi Imam of Ahmedabad Jama Masjid

New Age Islam News Bureau

05 December 2022

Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid

File picture

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• ISIS claims gun attack at Pakistan embassy that wounded guard

• Would India Invest In Afghanistan Under Taliban? Memories Of 1999 IAF Hijacking Remain Fresh

• Amend Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act, Financial Services Act to protect non-Muslim divorcees, children: Lawyer

• Türkiye arrests 18 YPG/PKK, Daesh/ISIS terrorists in northern Syria

• Iran state body reports 200 deaths in protests, Raisi hails ‘freedoms’

• Gunmen kill 12, including imam, abduct others from mosque in Nigeria

• Islamic State suspect extradited to Australia, charged with terror-related offenses

• US says Iran policy now focusing on deterring weapon deliveries to Russia

 

India

• Muslim husband, Hindu wife booked under Haryana's anti-conversion law

• ‘Are there no men left?’: Ahmedabad’s Shahi Imam on women getting poll tickets

• Muslim League not satisfied with Congress’ handling of Tharoor issue

• Discussion on right-wing propaganda at Anti-Fascist Film Festival

• ‘Have nowhere to go’: Muslim voters in Gujarat rue a lack of options

• In Ahmedabad’s Juhapura, voters say they are shunned, focusing on education

• After Manipal University row, Rajasthan student calls out professor over Islamophobic slurs

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Pakistan

• LEAs tightening noose against blasphemers on social media

• Ashrafi urges private banks to withdraw appeals to FSC’s Riba verdict

• Pakistan's former premier Imran Khan accuses Gen Bajwa of playing ‘double game’ against his govt

• PTI chairman’s politics weakens Pakistan: PM Shehbaz

• IS claim of attack on embassy being verified: FO

• Bilawal sees no urgency for general elections

• Urdu Conference concludes with satire on ‘21st century’s Pakistan’

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South Asia

• Iran using former Afghan soldiers as military force: Taliban

• Under Taliban, lives of former Afghanistan security forces under grave threat: Report

• Mullah Yaqoob Mujahid Meets With Afghans in UAE

• 20 Tons of Expired Food Burned in Northern Afghanistan

• National Standard Authority Closes Down 20 Gas Stations in Northwestern Afghanistan

• UNICEF to Provide Cash Assistance to Tens of Thousands of Afghan Poor Families

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Southeast Asia

• Religious affairs minister to focus on strengthening unity among Muslim community

• Fearing persecution and child marriages, women's groups call for Suhakam review of Terengganu Shariah amendments

• GE15 shows political Islam has gained popularity, says Hadi’s son

• New religious minister can lead Islamic reforms, says Jakim

• Indonesia’s Proposed Criminal Code Reflects The Power Of Islamic Radicals

• Indonesia villagers race to escape eruption as sky turns black

• Appointment of Malaysia DPM Ahmad Zahid in important roles a ‘matter of great concern’: Analyst

• World Cup fans see double standard in stadium politics ban

• Career leap for Tok Mat after years in state leadership

• Indonesia set to pass key changes in criminal code that will ban sex outside marriage

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Arab World

• Saudi Arabia hands down death sentences to six more political dissidents: Rights organization

• Saudi education ministry launches Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Scholarship

• Two dead as protesters, police clash in southern Syria

• World Cup host Qatar seeks to change minds on Islam

• Two killed as protesters, police clash in Syria

• Iranians in Iraq skeptical over end to morality police

• Protesters storm governor’s office in southern Syria, gunfire heard

• UN refugee agency chief calls for sustained support to Lebanon’s most vulnerable

• UAE President Sheikh Mohamed in Qatar for official visit

• Saudi Arabia condemns ISIS attack on Pakistan embassy in Kabul

• Iraq says over 18,000 stolen artifacts retrieved

• IRGC forces only ‘a kilometer away’ from terrorists in Iraqi Kurdistan: Colonel

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Mideast

• Iran abolishes morality police after months of protests

• Iran state TV denies termination of morality police

• Iran protesters call for strike, top legal cleric says morality police shut down

• Hamas, Islamic Jihad strongly condemn Israeli president's Bahrain visit

• Iran Executes 4 Men for Cooperating with Israeli Intelligence

• Israel forces kill Palestinian in West Bank: Officials

• Misguided getaway sets off security alert at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport

• Iran starts construction on $2 billion new nuclear power plant

• Israeli court rejects release of longest-serving Palestinian detainee

• Palestinians to remain steadfast in resisting Israeli occupation: Abbas

• Morality police suspended 'from where it was formed': Iran’s judiciary

• EU’s Borrell condemns point-blank shooting of Palestinian in West Bank

• Yemen can return every attack with dozens of missiles, drones: Saree

• Blinken warns the incoming Netanyahu regime against settlements, annexation

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Africa

• Over 5,700 Nigerians who fled Boko Haram attacks return home: Official

• Islamic leaders, group, others pray, mobilise support for Tinubu in Oyo, Ondo, Lagos

• Mali attacks using explosive devices claim lives of 9 soldiers

• Thousands protest in Morocco over price hikes, ‘repression’

• Tunisia’s labor union rejects December election, attacks President Saied’s agenda

• Libya’s Dbeibeh welcomes UN call for holding elections

• Burkina Faso suspends broadcast of French radio RFI

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Europe

• FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar records highest-ever attendance in tournament’s history

• Clashes break out in Italy as far-right, left-wing groups hold rallies

• Northern Cyprus opposes Bob Menendez’s anti-Turkish remarks

• Sweden extradites PKK/KCK terror group member to Türkiye

• Iraqi in UK who saved baby niece via illegal entry granted leave to remain

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North America

• Blinken says US to work closely with Israel, continues to support two state solution

• US Navy seizes ammunition-laden vessel from Iran to Yemen

• Canada imposes additional sanctions on Iranians, including former Tehran police chief

• US condemns shooting at Pakistan’s embassy in Afghanistan

• Imam Abdul Alim Musa: US Muslim leader and advocate of Islamic Revolution

• US looking for ‘excuse’ to derail talks on reviving Iran nuclear deal: Russian source

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/election-women-islam-shahi-imam-jama-masjid/d/128566

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Giving election tickets to women against Islam, says Shahi Imam of Ahmedabad Jama Masjid

04.12.22

Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid

File picture

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The Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid in Ahmedabad on Sunday said allotting tickets to women in elections is a rebellion against Islam and weakens the religion.

Talking to reporters here on the eve of the second and final phase of polling for the Gujarat Assembly elections, the Shahi Imam, Shabbir Ahmed Siddiqui, said women are not allowed to offer Namaz (prayer performed by Muslims) because they have a certain position in Islam.

"If you talk about Islam...Do you see even a single woman offering Namaz? Namaz has great importance in Islam. Had it been justified in Islam for women to come before people, they (women) would not have been stopped (from entering) the mosque.

"Women are stopped from visiting mosques because they have a certain status in Islam. Whoever (whichever party) gives tickets to (Muslim) women rebels against Islam. Don't you have men (candidates) that you are bringing in women? This will weaken our religion," the Shahi Imam said.

Voting for 93 out of 182 Assembly seats will be held across 14 central and northern districts of Gujarat on Monday.

The first phase of voting for 89 seats in Saurashtra, Kutch and south Gujarat regions was held on December 1, when an average voter turnout of 63.31 per cent was recorded. The counting of votes will be taken up on December 8.

Source:TelegraphIndia

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/giving-election-tickets-to-women-against-islam-says-shahi-imam-of-ahmedabad-jama-masjid/cid/1901947

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ISIS claims gun attack at Pakistan embassy that wounded guard

Dec 4, 2022

Image: AP/ Representative

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ISLAMABAD: The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for last week's gun attack on the Pakistani embassy in Afghanistan in which the head of the mission escaped unharmed but a guard was wounded.

In a brief statement late Saturday, ISIS claimed two of its fighters attacked “the renegade Pakistani ambassador and his guards” while they were in the Pakistani embassy's yard, wounding a guard and inflicting damage to the building. It gave no further details.

Friday's assault in the Afghan capital Kabul wounded Pakistani guard Israr Mohammad, who belongs to the military's commando unit. But the mission's chief, Ubaid-ur-Rehman NizamaniIt, was unharmed.

The attack came amid rising tensions between the South Asian neighbors over Islamabad's claims that anti-Pakistan government forces are orchestrating militant attacks from hideouts in Afghanistan.

Mohammad was transported to Pakistan for medical treatment.

In Islamabad, the Foreign Ministry said it trying to confirm the ISIS claim.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/isis-claims-gun-attack-at-pakistan-embassy-that-wounded-guard/articleshow/95978338.cms

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Would India Invest In Afghanistan Under Taliban? Memories Of 1999 IAF Hijacking Remain Fresh

By UbeerNaqushbandi

04 DEC 2022

Taliban celebrate one year of rule in Afghanistan.(File photo) Photo: AP/Ebrahim Noroozi

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In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi during inauguration of Afghanistan’s brand new Parliament building in Kabul, hummed lines of famous Bollywood song aloud: ‘yaarihaiimaanmera, yaare mere zindagi’.

Modi chose ‘Zanjeer’ movie song to describe the India-Afghanistan bonhomie of nearly the last two decades. The Afghan Parliament building built at a whopping cost of 90 million dollars, was the latest in the long list of India’s investment in the war-torn country, post-2001 invasion of Afghanistan by US.

That was until August 2021 when the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan. Since then, India has remained skeptical about maintaining ties with Afghanistan, considering its rather unpleasant history with Taliban.

Now, the Taliban has urged India to invest again in Afghanistan. The request came at a recent meeting with the head of the Indian technical mission in Kabul. There have been reports that Taliban is keen on India investing in Afghanistan.

India has not taken a call on the request given the security situation in Afghanistan, even as it maintains engagement with the regime in Kabul.

It is not like India has completely cut off ties with Afghanistan’s new regime. It has donated consignments of humanitarian assistance to the country including 40,000 metric tonnes of wheat, about 50 tonnes of medical aid consisting of essential lifesaving medicines, anti-TB medicines, 500,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine, essential medical and surgical items and 28 tonnes of other disaster relief material.

Why Taliban Wants India To Invest In Afghanistan

India had been heavily investing in the country over the past years and its ties with Afghanistan have been of geopolitical and strategic significance in the South East Asia region.

India has helped build infrastructure in Afghanistan which was in turmoil following the Red Army takeover, subsequent war lord frenzy, and Taliban period from 1996 to 2001.

India has contributed to the building of roads, dams, hospitals and schools in Afghanistan. Its investment in Afghanistan until Taliban takeover is estimated to be over 3 billion dollars. Afghans have appreciated the help and relations between the two nations have been of bonhomie and mutual respect since the 2000s.

In 2011, India signed Strategic Partnership Agreement With Afghanistan to build its infrastructure, education, investment and duty free access for Afghans to the Indian market.

India’s Dream Projects In Afghanistan:

Salma Dam: Also known as the India-Afghanistan friendship dam, the 42 MW dam is located in Herat province. It was started in 2016.

Zaranj-Delaram highway: This 218 kilometer is highway is significant, since it allows India access to landlocked Afghanistan through Iran’s Chabahar Port. The highway assumes significance considering Pakistan’s blanket ban overland on India for doing trade with Afghanistan.The highway has been built by India at 150-million dollars.

Historical Stor Palace: The19th century place in Kabul was rebuilt by India and inguarted by PM Modi in 2016.

Besides, India has built the country's electricity infrastructure. The notable addition is the 220KV Pul-e-Khumri transmission line from Baghlan province to Kabul. India has also built hospitals and beefed up the country's transport system.

India's projects which are on halt in Afghanistan

India has announced that it would construct  Shatoot Dam in Kabul district, which would provide safe drinking water to 2 million residents. India has also announced 1 million dollar package for the Aga Khan heritage project, the restoration of the Bala Hissar Fort south of Kabul, whose origins go back to the 6th century.

In 2017, New Delhi and Kabul opened a direct air freight corridor, which boosted the trade between the two countries. 

Why is India sceptical to work with Taliban in Afghanistan?

Investing in Afghanistan helps India safeguard itself from potential terror attacks launched on Indian soil from Afghanistan by anti-India forces. India has also been accusing Pakistan of backing militants in Afghanistan as proxies against India.

India has also been critical of the Taliban, whom it considers close to its regional rival, Pakistan. However, Taliban has hinted that it would like to have good ties with all regional countries this time around.

The most important troubling question for India this time when investing in Afghanistan would pertain to Taliban's backing of the hijackers of an Indian Airlines flight in 1999. The haunting memory still lingered in the memory of most Indians.

Infamous Kandahar hijacking in 1999:

Indian Airlines flight, IC-814 air bound from Kathmandu to Delhi with 179 passengers including 24 foreigners and 11 crew members on board was hijacked by five masked men on December 24, 1999.

The flight was made to land at Amritsar, Lahore and then UAE for refuelling. It was before the hijackers finally took IAF plane to Kandahar in Afghanistan. The hijackers had left the plane in Kandahar with a Taliban hostage to ensure their safe escape.

Following several rounds of negotiations, the Indian government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee gave in to the demands of the terrorists and released their three men lodged inside an Indian jail.

he released men included Jaish-e-Mohammad's Masood Azhar, Omar Sheikh and Kashmiri militant Mushtaq Ahmad Zargar, who were taken by then External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh on a special plane to Kandahar.

The hijackers had also murdered a passenger, RupinKatiyal.

Source: OutlookIndia

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

https://www.outlookindia.com/national/would-india-invest-in-taliban-s-afghanistan-with-which-it-has-horrifying-iaf-1999-hijacking-experience--news-242301

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Amend Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act, Financial Services Act to protect non-Muslim divorcees, children: Lawyer

ArinaMusthafa

05-12- 2022

BERNAMAPIX

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KUALA LUMPUR: A lawyer is fighting to have the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 and Financial Services Act 2013 amended to ensure non-Muslim spouses and children are not financially neglected in the event of a divorce.

Rachel Chan said it began when a single mother with an autistic son was neglected by her ex-husband, who refused to visit the child or pay for child maintenance.

Now, she is calling on the public and other lawyers to band together to ensure such a situation does not befall other divorcees.

Chan wants an amendment to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 to include an additional subsection (6) so that a free app owned and managed by the government can be installed to monitor asset division and alimony payments to the children of a divorced couple.

She also wants sections 134(1) and (2) and Schedule 11 (6) of the First Column of the Financial Services Act to be further enhanced with respect to disclosures of money in Malaysian banks so that spouses are forced to be transparent and cannot hide their banking account details when filing for divorce, since banks would then be duty-bound to disclose the assets to the court.

“The proposed changes are one of the ways to eradicate financial hardship among non-Muslims as they ensure single parents and children from broken families receive monetary compensation from errant ex-spouses who fail to adhere to their child maintenance payment obligations.”

She said making the amendments has become more important since former prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in the parliamentary session on Sept 15 last year that 76,786 divorce cases were recorded nationwide since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country.

Ismail Sabri also said between March 2020 and August 2021, a total of 10,346 divorces involved non-Muslim couples while 66,440 cases involved Muslims. Collectively for Muslims and non-Muslims, Selangor recorded the highest number with 3,160 cases followed by Kuala Lumpur, with 2,893.

Chan urged the government to develop a mobile app that is automated and backed by computerised systems so that relevant information involved in a divorce can be uploaded and monitored for adherence to the law and terms of the divorce settlement.

On identification of matrimonial assets subject to division, she said: “At the moment, there is no way to determine if either spouse owns landed assets in Malaysia and what are the bank account assets and the details thereof, unless the parties involved divulge them.

“Local councils may be able to ascertain the properties held by one spouse if the other provides details of the (MyKad) and name. But this is subject to a letter of authorisation being sighted by the local councils, and (even then), details of properties are limited only to those situated in the local councils’ area of jurisdiction.”

Chan also said banks are prohibited from making disclosures in a family court as under the Financial Services Act 2013, details of bank accounts and bank statements are private and confidential.

Chan’s call to amend the laws has gained the support of social activist Kuan Chee Heng, better known as Uncle Kentang, and human rights lawyer Siti Zabedah Kasim.

“This is an honorable cause and a way to help single parents raise their children without being financially neglected by their irresponsible ex-spouses. I have seen cases where parents who raise their children alone were helpless and suffered in silence. Chan’s effort to get the existing laws amended could be a way out of their predicament,” Kuan said.

However, while Siti Zabedah expressed support for Chan’s cause in that something needs to be done to assist spouses who have been financially neglected after divorce, she disagreed with the development of a mobile app that monitors divorce settlements.

“I believe producing a mobile app for this purpose would be inefficient and I suggest Chan propose another way to monitor the assets of irresponsible spouses,” she said.

Source:TheSunDaily

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

https://www.thesundaily.my/local/amend-law-reform-marriage-and-divorce-act-financial-services-act-to-protect-non-muslim-divorcees-children-lawyer-PA10320197

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Türkiye arrests 18 YPG/PKK, Daesh/ISIS terrorists in northern Syria

MerveYıldızalp

04.12.2022

At least 18 YPG/PKK and Daesh/ISIS terrorists were arrested by Turkish security forces in northern Syria, the Turkish Interior Ministry said on Sunday.

During an operation on Saturday in Al-Bab and Jarablus, security forces nabbed 13 Daesh/ISIS members, including a senior operative of the terror group.

Separately, five YPG/PKK terrorists, who were sent to Jarablus for plotting a terror attack, were also arrested by security forces.

During the search at addresses, Kalashnikov rifles, pistols, 253 cartridges, and 10 kg hand-made explosives were seized.

In 2013, Türkiye became one of the first countries to declare Daesh/ISIS a terrorist group.

The country has since been attacked by the terror group multiple times, with over 300 people killed and hundreds more injured in at least 10 suicide bombings, seven bomb attacks, and four armed assaults.

In response, Türkiye launched operations at home and abroad to prevent further attacks, including several counter-terrorist operations such as Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018), and Peace Spring (2019).

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/turkiye-arrests-18-ypg-pkk-daesh-isis-terrorists-in-northern-syria/2755227

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Iran state body reports 200 deaths in protests, Raisi hails ‘freedoms’

04 December ,2022

President Ebrahim Raisi on Saturday hailed Iran’s Islamic Republic as a guarantor of rights and freedoms, defending the ruling system amid a crackdown on anti-government protests that the United Nations says has cost more than 300 lives.

A top state security body meanwhile said that 200 people, including members of the security forces, had lost their lives in the unrest, a figure significantly lower than that given by the world body and rights groups.

The protests, in their third month, were ignited by the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman MahsaAmini in the custody of morality police enforcing strict mandatory hijab rules.

The demonstrations have turned into a popular revolt by furious Iranians from all layers of society, posing one of the boldest challenges to the clerical leadership since the 1979 revolution.

Meanwhile, a social media video appeared to show authorities demolishing the family home of Elnaz Rekabi, a climber who competed in an international contest without a headscarf in October. Rekabi later she had done so unintentionally, but she was widely assumed to have expressed support for the protests.

State media on Saturday quoted the head of the judiciary in northwestern Zanjan province as saying the ruling to demolish the villa had been issued four months ago as the family had failed to obtain a construction permit.

Unfazed by the brutal crackdown, protesters have raised slogans against Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and repeatedly demanded an end to the Islamic government.

Social media videos showed renewed protests late on Saturday in some parts of the capital Tehran, including the eastern Haft Howz area where protesters could be heard chanting: “Murderer Khamenei should be executed.” Reuters could not immediately verify the footage.

The authorities blame the revolt on foreign enemies, including the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

“Iran has the most progressive constitution in the world” because it marries “ideals with democracy,” Raisi said in a speech to parliamentarians, quoting an unidentified African lawyer he said he met several years ago.

“The constitution guarantees the (existence) of the Islamic system,” he said, adding that it also “guarantees fundamental rights and legitimate freedoms.”

The judiciary’s Mizan news agency quoted the interior ministry’s state security council as saying 200 people lost their lives in the recent “riots.”

AmiraliHajizadeh, a senior Revolutionary Guards commander was quoted as saying on Monday that 300 people, including security force members, had been killed in the recent unrest.

Javaid Rehman, a UN-appointed independent expert on Iran, said on Tuesday that more than 300 people had been killed in the protests, including more than 40 children.

Rights group HRANA said that as of Friday 469 protesters had been killed, including 64 minors. It said 61 government security forces had also been killed. As many as 18,210 protesters are believed to have been arrested.

A prominent Baluch Sunni Muslim cleric, MolaviAbdolhamid, has called for an end to the repression of protests through arrests and killings, and a referendum on changing Iran’s government system.

“The people’s protest has shown that the policies of the last 43 years have reached a dead end,” he said in late November.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/12/04/Iran-state-body-reports-200-deaths-in-protests-Raisi-hails-freedoms-

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Gunmen kill 12, including imam, abduct others from mosque in Nigeria

Dec 5, 2022

Gunmen in Nigeria killed a dozen worshippers, including an imam, and kidnapped several others from a mosque on Saturday night, local residents said on Sunday, in the latest attack by armed gangs in the north of the country.

Armed gangs, known as bandits, attack communities where security is stretched, killing people or kidnapping them for ransom. The gangs also demand villagers pay protection fees to be allowed to farm and harvest their crops.

Lawal Haruna, a resident of Funtua, in President Muhammadu Buhari's home state of Katsina, told Reuters by phone that the gunmen arrived at Maigamji mosque on motorbikes and started shooting sporadically, which forced worshippers to flee.

About 12, who were attending night prayers, were caught in the gunfire and killed, including the chief imam, said Haruna.

"They then gathered many people and took them to the bush. I'm praying that the bandits release the innocent people they abducted," said Abdullahi Mohammed, another resident of Funtua.

Katsina state police spokesman Gambo Isah confirmed the attack and said state-backed vigilantes, with the support of some residents, had managed to rescue some worshippers.

Katsina is among several states in the northwest of Nigeria which share a border with neighbouring Niger, allowing the gangs to move freely between the two countries.

Nigeria's military has been bombing bush camps used by the bandits, but the attacks continue, raising fears about the safety of voters who will go to the polls to choose Buhari's successor in February.

Source: IndiaToday

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

https://www.indiatoday.in/world/story/gunmen-kills-people-imam-abduct-others-mosque-nigeria-2305328-2022-12-05

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Islamic State suspect extradited to Australia, charged with terror-related offenses

4 December 2022

MELBOURNE, Australia — Australian police charged a high-profile Islamic State suspect with six terrorism-related offenses Sunday, two days after he was extradited from Turkey, officials said.

Neil Christopher Prakash, 31, was accused of offenses including engaging in hostile activity overseas, supporting a terrorist organization, and advocating terrorism, police said.

He was charged in Melbourne by a counter-terrorism team after landing in Australia on Friday following his extradition, federal police said in a statement.

The allegations carry maximum penalties ranging from five years to life imprisonment.

Police released a video that showed officers in black balaclavas at Melbourne airport removing Prakash from a plane and escorting him across the tarmac to a waiting car.

Prakash was arrested in Turkey in 2016 after crossing into the country from Syria.

He was sentenced in 2019 to seven years in prison by a Turkish court, which found him guilty of belonging to a terrorist organization.

Prakash was stripped of his Australian citizenship in 2018.

Police have worked “tirelessly” to bring him before the courts, said Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Sandra Booth.

Authorities estimate about 230 Australians have traveled to Iraq and Syria to take up arms since 2012 — Prakash being one of the most prominent examples.

He was featured in IS recruiting videos in which he urged Australians to “wake up” and join the group.

Prakash was described by former conservative prime minister Malcolm Turnbull as one of the “key financiers or organizers” for IS in the Middle East.

Former Australian attorney-general George Brandis in 2016 said Prakash had been killed in Iraq following a targeted US airstrike.

It was later determined that he was wounded but survived the blast.

Source:TimesOfIsrael

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

https://www.timesofisrael.com/islamic-state-suspect-extradited-to-australia-charged-with-terror-related-offenses/

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US says Iran policy now focusing on deterring weapon deliveries to Russia

03 December ,2022

The US will concentrate on Iranian weapons supplies to Russia and on supporting protesters in the country, rather than on stalled talks to revive an international nuclear deal, the Biden administration’s top Iran envoy said.

“Iran is not interested in a deal and we’re focused on other things,” US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley said in an interview on Saturday.

“Right now we can make a difference in trying to deter and disrupt the provision of weapons to Russia and trying to support the fundamental aspirations of the Iranian people.”

Iran is ramping up uranium enrichment activities and restricting international monitoring. It was censured at last month’s International Atomic Energy Agency meeting for stonewalling a probe into uranium particles detected a several undeclared sites.

Iran is demanding an end to the IAEA investigation as part of any resumption of the nuclear deal, a condition that Malley and US allies reject.

“What’s the point?” Malley said in Rome. “Why should we focus on it if Iran comes back with demands that are unacceptable? At this point we’re not going to focus on the nuclear deal because we can’t sort of keep going back and then being played.”

While contacts between European Union and Iranian officials are continuing and negotiations aren’t formally suspended, there have been no talks since the end of August, Malley said.

The US now aims to “disrupt, delay, deter and sanction weapon deliveries to Russia from Iran,” he said. The provision of missiles or assistance in the construction of military production facilities in Russia “would be crossing new lines,” he said.

While the Kremlin denies using Iranian equipment, it has relied increasingly on drones from Iran as it burns through its own stockpiles in attacking Ukraine.

Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev met with top Iranian leaders in Tehran last month.
Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/12/03/US-says-Iran-policy-now-focusing-on-deterring-weapon-deliveries-to-Russia

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India 

Muslim husband, Hindu wife booked under Haryana's anti-conversion law

Dec 03, 2022

Nine people, including a 22-year-old Hindu woman and her Muslim husband, have been booked under the state's anti-conversion law, police here said on Saturday.

The woman's father, who filed the complaint, alleged that his daughter had recently married a Muslim man and was forcibly to converted to Islam.

The FIR against all nine accused was registered at SGM Nagar Police Station on Friday, said police.

Dheeraj Shukla, a resident of SGM Nagar, in his complaint said that his elder daughter Sanskriti Shukla works in a private bank and has married a Muslim man.

He alleged that one Javed Khan, a resident of SGM Nagar, made his daughter fall in love with him, married her and forcibly converted her.

"Last year, Javed's mother and relatives had come to my house with a marriage proposal, but I rejected it. On October 28 this year, I received a court notice which told me that my daughter had got married to Javed Khan and that she has filed a protection petition in court," Shukla said in his complaint, according to police.

"The marriage is invalid as per law and action should be taken against them," he wrote, citing the anti-conversion Act passed in the state recently.

Following his complaint, an FIR was registered against Sanskriti Shukla, her husband Javed Khan, Javed's brother Firoz Khan, father Liyakat Ali, mother Payal, Irshad, a witness to marriage, Mohammad Abdul Sajan, a Qazi, and notary public Ishwar Prasad under sections 12(1), 12(5) of Haryana Prevention of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2022, police said.

Source: Hindustan Times

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

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/gurugram-news/muslim-husband-hindu-wife-booked-under-haryana-s-anti-conversion-law-101670084491713.html

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‘Are there no men left?’: Ahmedabad’s Shahi Imam on women getting poll tickets

5 December, 2022

Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], December 4 (ANI): Close on the heels of AIDUF chief Badruddin Ajmal’s controversial remarks against Hindus, the Shahi Imam of Ahmedabad’s Jama Masjid, Shabbir Ahmed Siddiqui, stroked a fresh controversy on Sunday saying women are contesting the Gujarat Assembly elections as “there are no men left”.

“Those giving election tickets to Muslim women are against Islam, as they are weakening our religion. Are there no men left?” the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid in Ahmedabad said.

The remarks come a day ahead of the second and final phase of Gujarat Assembly polls on Monday.

He said there is nothing more important for Muslims than offering Namaz and there is a reason why women aren’t allowed to offer Namaz in the open.

“If you talk about Islam, there’s nothing more important than offering Namaz. Have you seen any women offering the Namaz in public? If it was okay in Islam for women to come out in public and offer Namaz, they wouldn’t have been stopped,” Ahmed said.

He said that women in Islam have a certain position and therefore, giving poll tickets to women is completely unjustified.

Ajmal had earlier said that Hindus, like Muslims, should get their children married at a young age.

“Muslim men marry at the age of 20-22 while Muslim women marry at 18, as stipulated by the government. However, (Hindus) have one two or three illegal wives before marriage. They don’t give birth to babies in order to save costs,” the AIUDF chief said.

Ajmal said, “They (Hindus) should also follow the Muslims in getting their children married at a young age. Get the boys married at 20-22 and the girls married at 18-20 years and then see how many children are born.”

Source:ThePrint

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

https://theprint.in/politics/are-there-no-men-left-ahmedabads-shahi-imam-on-women-getting-poll-tickets/1248598/

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Muslim League not satisfied with Congress’ handling of Tharoor issue

05th December 2022

By Vishnuprasad KP

MALAPPURAM:  The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the second largest ally in the UDF, is not satisfied with the way Congress is handling the Shashi Tharoor issue. The IUML MLAs expressed their dissatisfaction during a meeting convened by party state chief PanakkadSadik Ali Shihab Thangal in Malappuram on Sunday, ahead of the assembly session beginning on Monday.

The meeting mainly aimed at deciding on the party’s stance on various issues, including the Vizhinjam protests and the proposed bill to strip the governor of the chancellorship of the universities in the state.

“Congress members fight with each other over Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor’s tour in the state. The party thought that the issue ended during Tharoor’s Malabar visit.

Now, a similar situation has arisen during his South Kerala visit. The fight over Tharoor will widen the rift in state Congress and it will not help the UDF regain power in the state,” said a party source. During his Malabar visit, Tharoor visited IUML leaders at the residence of Sadik Ali Shihab Thangal. The IUML leaders also extended support to Tharoor’s programmes in the state.

An IUML MLA from Malappuram said the party is not against Vizhinjam port. “We are not against the project as it was initiated during the term of the UDF government,” the MLA said. IUML state general secretary P M A Salam said the government should also consider the demands of the Vizhinjam protesters. “We don’t want to see the government completing the project by suppressing the protests,” he said.

Salam said the League MLAs will present the party’s stand on various matters during the meeting of the UDF parliamentary members ahead of the assembly session. On the stand to be taken on the ordinance that will be introduced in the assembly to strip the governor of the chancellorship, Salam said it would also be revealed at the UDF meeting.

Source:New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2022/dec/05/muslim-league-not-satisfied-with-congress-handling-of-tharoor-issue-2525089.html

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Discussion on right-wing propaganda at Anti-Fascist Film Festival

Debraj Mitra   |   Calcutta 

05.12.22

A sinister objective is at the core of a synchronised propaganda blitz by the Right-wing ecosystem, a spearhead against misinformation said at a city programme on Sunday.

“Villainise the Muslim around you. Day in and day out. Make that person undesirable. We see it every day in the work that we do,” said Pratik Sinha, co-founder of fact-checking website AltNews.

Sinha and his colleague Muhammed Zubair — who spent nearly a month in jail earlier this year on charges of hurting religious sentiments through one of his tweets, the arrest triggering widespread condemnation in India and abroad — were part of a panel discussion on the closing day of the Anti-Fascist Film Festival at MahajatiSadan in central Calcutta.

It was organised by a forum called Bengal Against Fascist RSS-BJP and the People’s Film Collective, an independent, people-funded body that screens films and hosts conversations.

The topic of the discussion was “How to Stop Fascism”.

Talking about Aftab Poonawala, accused of killing his live-in partner and chopping her body, Sinha talked of the immense interest that mainstream media had found in the case.

“It is a heinous crime. But his narco test, polygraph test, every single thing about Aftab is being put out by the media. They are points of discussion everywhere. The love jihad issue is raked up again. A synchronised propaganda is being used to create a sense of fear, so much fear that next time someone wants to date someone from another community, the family would wonder if their daughter would end up in pieces,” said Sinha.

Poonawala should be punished if proven guilty, but the crime should not be judged on the basis of religion, said Sinha.

“The communities will continue living separately, leading to further ghettoisation of Muslims. That is what they want…. Any crime by a Muslim will make national headline, day in and day out. This is their agenda,” he said.

The same objective to demonise the Muslim community was behind the concerted attempt to blame the spread of Covid on the Tablighi Jamaatcongregation in Delhi in mid-March of 2020, Sinha said.

“Like in Aftab’s case, the mainstream media was obsessed with Tablighi Jamaat. It diverted attention from the plight of tens of thousands of migrant workers returning home barefoot.... We were told that Muslims kept spitting to spread Corona. That led to Muslims getting attacked,” he added.

Sinha shared the story of a Muslim man with a paralysed right hand who accidentally dropped a note at a petrol pump in Gujarat in April 2020. He was accused of doing it deliberately to spread Covid.

A case was started and the man had to spend 48 hours in jail, Sinha said. To fight this project of hate, the country needs “informed and empathetic citizens”, Sinha said.

Zubair, who the moderator said was “uncomfortable in giving a speech”, took a couple of questions from the audience. He was asked about his life in prison.

“The cops were after AltNews as an organisation. They asked me how many employees worked there, they asked their names. When I gave the names, they were shocked to know that the majority of the employees were Hindus. ‘Why do you publish anti-Hindu things then’, I was asked. The police were also fed on Right-wing propaganda,” said Zubair.

Source:TelegraphIndia

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/discussion-on-right-wing-propaganda-at-anti-fascist-film-festival/cid/1901997

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‘Have nowhere to go’: Muslim voters in Gujarat rue a lack of options

Dec 05, 2022

By Smriti Kak Ramachandran

Elections do not hold out the promise of change for IshaqVhora, who sells fruit on the busy Bhalej Road in Gujarat’s Anand. His cart is next to a garbage pit, but buyers seem unconcerned by the ambience, or the lack of it. He is polite to a fault and shows no impatience when customers fumble for change or digital payments take too long. “I have nowhere to go...just need to make enough money everyday to pay the rent and school fees,” he says.

His two kids are studying in a private school, where the annual fee is ₹8,000. He also has to pay ₹4,500 every month for rent. Election season means little to him, he says, although he’s been watching speeches on his phone. The poll promises of free electricity and education made by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have caught his attention.

“I heard about the promise to make education free. It sounds encouraging,” Vhora says. “The government school here is 5km away and the quality of education is not good. So, we decided to cut corners where ever we can and send the kids to a good English school.”

But, “by now we know better than to believe election promises,” he quickly adds.

Vhora says there is little about polls that excites him or his community. “In our village Tarapur, people mostly vote for the Congress. Now people are a little upset because these days MLAs also switch sides without qualms, so our vote is wasted,” he says.

Across the road from his cart are several posters of independent candidates, who are summarily dismissed as spoilers by Vhora. “The fight is between the Congress and the BJP, the rest are vote cutters. This new party (AAP) and the Owaisi party (AIMIM) are all helping the BJP,” he says.

Limited options

The AAP and the AIMIM, which seem like options for the Muslim community in Gujarat, are not necessarily viewed so by the community. In Ahmedabad’s Juhapura, a predominantly Muslim locality, the reactions to questions about politics, elections and representation of the community in polity evoke responses that are cautious, but betray anger and disappointment.

A homemaker said the community has been struggling to find its feet outside the “safety” of localities that are essentially ghettos.

“Is it possible for me to move out of Juhapura? Which builder will sell or which owner will rent out their houses? We live here because we cannot live anywhere else. In such a scenario, who has the time to wonder about party and politics. We’ve been voting for the Congress, and the BJP has been forming the government and that is how it will be. We will continue to struggle for good education and health care,” she says, declining to be identified.

In the same locality, a group of young men claim other parties are also growing cold towards the community that accounts for about 10% of the state’s population and is present in significant numbers in about 40 of the 182 constituencies.

One of them who has inherited his father’s grocery store says over the years other parties have also begun distancing themselves from the community. “They come asking for votes, but they have definitely begun to field fewer Muslim candidates. What does that imply?” he questions.

While the BJP has not fielded a Muslim candidate for the assembly polls since 1998, the Congress has given tickets to six Muslim candidates, and the AAP to three. The AIMIM has the highest number of Muslim candidates at 11.

A senior BJP leader said the prime consideration is “winnability” for the party. “We don’t discriminate as far as our programmes and policy is concerned. If a Muslim family is eligible for the PM AwasYojna or the Mudra scheme, does anyone deny it to them on the basis of their religion? So, what should matter more, representation that is symbolic or services?” he asks rhetorically.

The BJP leader said the party is not rigid about fielding Muslims as that can be seen from the list of Muslim candidates who fought on the party ticket during the 2021 urban local body polls. He did not mention the total number, but in several districts such as Baruch, the party fielded Muslim candidates.

The BJP’s overtures towards the community are met with nonchalance. “Why does the BJP need to resurrect the ghost of 2002 in their rallies and speeches? Other parties are now following their model. Did the AAP or the Congress ask why 11 men were freed from jail,” asks the shopkeeper quoted above. He was referring to the grant of remission to 11 men convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2008 for raping a woman, BilkisBano, murdering seven of her family members, including her three-year-old infant, during the 2002 communal riots in the state.

Tried and tested

Though the BJP claims that it got support from Muslim voters in 2017 after Parliament passed a law to outlaw Triple Talaq and is hoping for an encore based on the implementation of the social welfare schemes and the targeted intervention towards the Pasmanda, or the underprivileged sections, there is indication that the Congress, despite misgivings, will remain the beneficiary of the Muslim vote.

“When you have little expectations, it is best to go with the tried and the tested,” says the homemaker.

The AIMIM, which was exuberant after its performance in the local body elections, winning 17 seats in three municipalities, is viewed with suspicion and often dubbed as “BJP’s B-team”.

Referring to the community’s scepticism about the party that toes a hardline, AfrozAlam, head of the political science department at the Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad, says, “It is crystal clear that the AIMIM does not contest to get the votes of the Muslim community, but to mobilise the votes of the non-Muslims. Barring the 1946 election (provincial election), when the Muslims voted for the Muslim League, or in some cases in Assam and Kerala for a Muslim party, the community does not vote for a predominantly Muslim party.”

Source: Hindustan Times

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

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/have-nowhere-to-go-muslim-voters-in-gujarat-rue-a-lack-of-options-101670177256805.html

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In Ahmedabad’s Juhapura, voters say they are shunned, focusing on education

Dec 05, 2022

By Maulik Pathak

RafiaManiar, 54, was settling into a new life in Ahmedabad’s Vasna after getting married in 1990 when her life turned upside down. The residential society she moved into with her in-laws was burnt down the same year in the 1990 communal riots. The violence forced them to move to Muslim-majority Juhapura, which then had a lot of open space. Juhapura now has little space as Muslims from other parts of Ahmedabad and Gujarat have continued to move there in the aftermath of the 2002 riots.

Maniar said Vasna is now a Hindu colony and she too has moved on. She added the 2002 riots are a thing of the past and cannot recur as people have become smarter. “They know only innocent people die in riots and the real culprits are never caught,” said Maniar, a henna artist. “I have no fear of Hindus. They are my clients and I have good relations with them.”

Inflation, poor roads, and lack of quality education were the key issues for Maniar as Gujarat went to the polls in two phases on December 1 and 5. She said she was unsure if any political party can solve their problems. “The area [Juhapura] is cut off from the rest of Ahmedabad... [it is without] basic infrastructure like gas connectivity, quality roads...[we face] issues [related to] drainage and availability of water.”

Maniar said the Muslim community needs economic prosperity. “There are girls in my neighbourhood who have scored well and want to become doctors but they have to change the streams due to lack of funds for education.”

Juhapura is located on Ahmedabad’s outskirts and has been described as India’s largest Muslim ghetto with a population of about 500,000. It falls under the Vejalpur constituency.

I H Kadri, a Juhapura resident, and a corporate trainer, said they feel cut off from the mainstream with all major parties the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress, and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) even refraining from campaigning in their area. He added in the nearby Prahlad Nagar, there was high-decibel campaigning. “Many Juhapura residents do not have voter identity cards and a large number of us do not vote. We do not see any power in voting.”

Kadri said the BJP does not care about their votes and the Congress has taken them for granted. He added AAP is banking on soft Hindutva and has not actively campaigned in their area.

The Disturbed Areas Act, which was introduced in 1991 to replace a 1986 ordinance the then Congress government issued, is seen as a major source of Muslim woes. It prohibits Hindus and Muslims from buying and selling properties to each other without a district collector’s permission.

In 2010, the law was amended and renamed Prohibition of Transfer of Immovable Property and Provision for Protection of Tenants from Eviction from Premises in Disturbed Areas Act. Originally meant for Ahmedabad, the law now covers cities and towns including Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, and Bharuch.

The 2002 riots led to a massive influx of internally displaced people into Juhapura. “If you are a Muslim in Juhapura, you will get a sense of what living in a ghetto is. I cannot go anywhere else in Ahmedabad...where the Hindus live. It is not just the Act. The Hindus are also not ready to accept us as their neighbours,” said Asif Shaikh, a trustee of Juhupura’s Crescent School.

He added neither the Congress, BJP nor AAP can do anything for them. “...we have to progress on our own. Congress did not help me build a school for my community. Neither did the BJP. Muslim votes are irrelevant.”

The BJP has once again not fielded any Muslim candidates for the seventh time since getting power in Gujarat first in 1995. The Congress has given tickets to six and AAP four Muslim candidates.

Political analyst Ghanshyam Shah said Muslims account for around 10% of the state’s population and have a sizeable presence in 10-12 seats. “All parties have alienated Muslims over the years. Their representation in Congress has also gone down with each election. Congress does not openly take a stance for the community. Gujarat’s Muslims have no voice.”

Shah said the voting percentage in the Muslim majority seats went down in the 2017 elections, which showed a large number of them refrained from ballotting. He said the AAP has also been silent over the release of the men convicted of raping BilkisBano and murdering seven members of her family during the 2002 riots that left 1,000 people, mostly Muslims dead.

On October 8, posters and banners of AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal in a Muslim skull cap came up across cities of Gujarat. A day earlier, a video of AAP’s Delhi minister Rajendra Pal Gautam, who was later forced to resign, attending an event where Hindus vowed to convert to Buddhism went viral and drew a sharp response from the BJP.

As political parties treat them as pariahs, Muslims in Juhapura see education as their redeeming feature. “In the last 14 years, 27 private schools have come up in Juhapura. There are 2,300 students enrolled at my school but this is not enough. We need many more schools. Education is the only way for Muslims to progress,” said Shaikh.

He said education was disrupted in the last 100 years for India’s Muslims. “Our renewed focus on education can be seen across India.”

Nazneen Lokhandwala, another Juhapura resident, echoed Shaikh, calling education their biggest focus. “There are no colleges in Juhapura. Even for students who want to study science at the higher secondary level, there are no schools in the neighbourhood. There are no public gardens or recreational places. If there is one positive change in the area, the water issues are getting resolved.”

Source: Hindustan Times

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

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/in-ahmedabad-s-juhapura-voters-say-they-are-shunned-focusing-on-education-101670215400187.html

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After Manipal University row, Rajasthan student calls out professor over Islamophobic slurs

Dec 04, 2022

By Sharmita Kar

After last month's Manipal University ‘terrorist row’, another incident of similar communal slurs has come to light from a college in Rajasthan after a female student from a Muslim background claimed that she had been facing threats after she called out her professor for allegedly making prejudiced remarks during a history class.

A video of the woman narrating the incident was doing rounds on social media platforms on Sunday.

The incident reportedly happened on November 21 at MBR College in Balotra in Rajasthan's Barmer district. In the video – that could not be independently verified by Hindustan Times – the woman was heard saying that they were having a discussion on Gautam Buddha when the history professor suddenly switched over to talking about the Shraddha murder case. “Sir suddenly started saying ‘Do you know Aaftab cut Shraddha in 35 pieces, he did not even have mercy, Muslims are so merciless’…,” she claimed in the video in Hindi.

She further claimed that the professor started making offensive remarks about her religion like “Muslims say that if you kill one Hindu you’ll get rewarded by Hajj and if you kill two, you'll get Jannat" and “they are terrorists, they are Pakistani, stay away from them”. She added that when she got up from her seat to protest, he told her it was “written in Quran”.

The woman also alleged that the college authorities took no action and instead asked her to end the discussion there. When she stepped out of the college, she said, a person named Raju Chaudhury started threatening her. “He told me go to the police station if you can, then you know what we will do to you…he ran his car on my foot and asked his peers to take me inside the college…kept me locked in for two hours…they said if you try to get out you know we are so many boys, what we will do to you…so I told them I will not tell anyone,” she claimed, adding that they followed her till her home and threatened her to keep her mouth shut.

The woman claimed that no action has been taken against the teacher so far.

Source: Hindustan Times

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

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/jaipur-news/after-manipal-university-terrorist-row-rajasthan-student-calls-out-professor-over-islamophobic-slurs-101670146052572.html

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Pakistan 

LEAs tightening noose against blasphemers on social media

December 4, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The law enforcement agencies (LEAs) was consistently tightening the noose against blasphemers on social media and netting the people who are allegedly involved in this criminal activity with every passing day.

According to a tentative statistic, 62 blasphemers have been putted behind the bars so far, nine of them have been awarded the capital punishment by the trial courts while two of them have been awarded death penalty by the high courts.

In addition, the accused under trial in blasphemous cases had never been granted bail by any court of law yet.

To curb the menace of blasphemous material on social media, a number of faith-based organizations have got into momentum including Legal Commission on Blasphemy Pakistan, Namoos-e-Risalat Lawyers Forum Pakistan, Legal Thinkers Forum, Tehreek TehfuzNamoos-e-Risalat Pakistan, World Khatm-e-Nabuwat Council, AnjumanAshqaan-e-Muhammad, TehfuzKhatm-e-Nabuwat Forum, TehfuzKhatm-e-NabuwatWukla Forum, Legal and Cyber Experts Forum, Razakaran-e-Khatm-e-Nabuwat and Islamabad Bar Association.

These religious organizations are pursuing the blasphemous cases till their logical conclusions.

In an exclusive talk with APP, Legal Commission on Blasphemy Pakistan Secretary General Sheraz Ahmad Farooqui informed that utilizing its Cyber Crime Wing’s expertise, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had booked an accused allegedly involved in publication of indecent content against the sacred books Quran and Bible on social media on Tuesday.

However, it had also arrested two miscreants allegedly involved in proliferation of desecration stuff on social media on Wednesday, he added.

He said a blasphemer namely Sana Ullah had been awarded death sentence twice by the Anti-Terrorist Court, Peshawar-I.

Farooqui said ATC Judge Fazl Sattar Khan reserved the verdict in the following case on November 24, adding that the convict used to share desecration content on the WhatsApp group against the sanctity and prestige of Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), Mothers of believers (Ummahaat-ul-Momineen) and the religion of Islam.

He further informed that a woman known as Rabia Peerni had been arrested after the First Information (FIR) registration at the Data Darbar Police Station, Lahore on Saturday. He said the accused was involved in desecration of Islamic values and injunctions publicly and making viral number of videos on social media.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly (NA) had passed a unanimous resolution to withdraw appeals of the government from the Supreme Court to annul the decision of Lahore High Court (LHC) against the publication of blasphemous content on the social media.

The resolution’s mover PML-N Member of National Assembly Chaudhary Faqir Ahmad told APP that the then government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf challenged the decision in the apex court instead of implementing it in letter and spirit.

He urged the incumbent government to withdraw the appeals against the LHC’s decision filed by the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority in the tenure of so calledRiyasat-e-Madinah.

In addition, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony had reactivated its Web Evaluation Cell to control the increasing incidents of blasphemy on social media.

The Ministry’s spokesperson Muhammad Umar Butt, talking to APP, informed that the people could report blasphemous material if found on social media on the official email address: reportblasphemy@mora.gov.pk, Facebook page: @mora.official or WhatsApp number: 0306 3332555.

He made it clear that hate material against the religion or sacred figures was completely banned as per law and the Constitution. “Those allegedly involved in this illegitimate activity would be taken to task as per law of the land,” he added.

Source:Pakistan Today

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

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2022/12/04/leas-tightening-noose-against-blasphemers-on-social-media/

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Ashrafi urges private banks to withdraw appeals to FSC’s Riba verdict

December 4, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Interfaith Harmony and Middle East Hafiz Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi on Sunday said the private banks should withdraw their appeals against the Federal Shariat Court (FSC) verdict on Riba (usury).

Talking to APP, he said the government had taken practical steps by withdrawing appeals of national and state banks from the apex court in a bid to get rid of the interest-based economic system.

Ashrafi, who is also the chairman of Pakistan Ulema Council, assured the government all-out support of Ulema and Mashaykh in the implementation of FSC’s decision in letter and spirit.

He proposed all the financial institutions devise a combined strategy to make the country’s economic system free of interest which was totally against the divine commands.

He also urged the government to take stern action against the people who were allegedly involved in an interest-based system at the local level.

He said Pakistan, currently, was facing a critical financial crisis and its solution was lying in political stability and improved law and order situation in the country.

He urged all the religious and political parties to unite on one platform and help cope with burgeoning polarization, extremism, and the new wave of terrorism with collective efforts.

He also appealed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chief Imran Khan to come to the table-talk to evolve consensus on the ‘Charter of Pakistan’ as it was the need of the hour and it would help control increasing violence in the society and improve the ailing economy of the country.

He proposed that the way ‘Message of Pakistan’ was designed to promote religious harmony in all sections of the society, there should be long-term policies on the country’s social, economic, and foreign affairs issues in the shape of ‘Charter of Pakistan’ and it should be implemented by all the governments to come and national institutions in the larger national interest.

Ashrafi emphasized that Pakistan had to go out of the box in the matter of its foreign policy as there was a paradigm shift in the external affairs of the Islamic and Arab world.

He also thanked the Saudi leadership for extending the term of deposit in the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) from the Saudi Fund for Development.

Expressing gratitude to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and his Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, he said the relationship between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia was like two brothers.

He said Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif’s meetings with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman would yield further cooperation in the shape of Saudi investment in the days to come ahead in the country.

“Similarly, other Islamic countries are also increasing trade and economic cooperation with Pakistan,” he said expressing the hope that there would be good news from the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia in the near future.

Ashrafi hinted that there was a big hand of the external forces and anti-state elements behind an organized smear campaign against the national security institutions and armed forces.

Source: Pakistan Today

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

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2022/12/04/ashrafi-urges-private-banks-to-withdraw-appeals-to-fscs-riba-verdict/

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Pakistan's former premier Imran Khan accuses Gen Bajwa of playing ‘double game’ against his govt

Dec 4, 2022

Pakistan's ousted prime minister Imran Khan has accused former army chief Gen (retd.) Qamar JavedBajwa of playing a "double game" against his government and said that he committed a "big mistake" by extending the tenure of then military chief in 2019.

Khan, the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, made the comments during an interview with a local TV channel on Saturday where he also regretted that he put his trust in the then army chief Gen (retd.) Bajwa.

"I would believe in everything General Bajwa would tell me because our interests were the same… that we had to save the country,” said 70-year-old Khan, who was ousted from power through a no-confidence motion in April this year.

Khan also claimed that he received reports from Intelligence Bureau (IB) on “what games were being played against his government”.

He claimed that then military establishment was in contact with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz supremo Nawaz Sharif to topple his government and the plot against him became clear following the removal of Lt Gen (retd.) Faiz Hameed as ISI chief in October 2021.

"Whenever I asked General Bajwa (about change of government), he would say it was not possible. He said, ‘We want continuity’….I sent finance minister Shaukat Tarin who briefed them (establishment) for two hours about the perils of the fall of his government…He was also assured that don’t worry because ‘we want continuity,’" Khan claimed.

Khan said the then army chief was cutting deals with the then opposition parties while assuring him of political support.

His remarks came days after Moonis Elahi of Pakistan Muslim League- Quaid-e-Azam (PML-Q) said in a TV interview that Bajwa asked him to vote for Khan on the no-confidence motion. His remarks were used by the government to blast Khan's allegation that the establishment orchestrated his downfall.

But Khan, who is considered as an expert of using any situation in his favour, exploited the statement of Elahi and said it showed that General Bajwa was playing on both sides.

"Gen Bajwa was playing a double game and I discovered later that even PTI’s members were being given different messages,” he claimed.

Gen Bajwa, 61, retired on November 29 after getting a three-year extension in 2019 by the then Prime Minister Khan, who turned out to be the biggest critic of the Pakistan Army.

Nawaz Sharif, who was disqualified and imprisoned when Bajwa was the army chief, has also criticized him by name at public rallies on a couple of occasions.

In his farewell address last week, General Bajwa had said that his decision to keep the military establishment "apolitical" will shield it from the "vagaries of politics" in the coup-prone country.

Since Pakistan was created 75 years ago, the Army has seized power three times and directly ruled the country for almost four decades.

In reply to another question, Khan said a new military set-up had emerged and he wanted to give some time to get themselves settled.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday lashed out at Khan for aiming to seek power even if it meant undermining the country's foundations.

"Imran’s recent diatribe against parliamentary democracy is the latest in a series of attacks that fly in the face of how democracy functions in modern nation-states," the premier said in a tweet.

Khan's "politics is aimed at making his way to power even if it means undermining foundations this country stands on," the prime minister said.

During the interview to Bol News, Khan also said that if the government is ready for elections by the end of March, then his party won't dissolve the assemblies. "Otherwise, we want to conduct polls by dissolving the KP and Punjab assemblies," he added.

Khan, the former cricketer-turned-politician, is the only Pakistani prime minister to be ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament.

Source:IndiaToday

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

https://www.indiatoday.in/world/story/ex-pakistam-pm-imran-khan-accuses-general-bajwa-playing-double-game-2305305-2022-12-04

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PTI chairman’s politics weakens Pakistan: PM Shehbaz

Syed Irfan Raza

December 5, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Reacting to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s remarks about former army chief Gen Qamar JavedBajwa, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday lashed out at ex-premier for “undermining” the foundation of Pakistan just for his own rule.

The prime minister noted that the PTI chief had also recently launched a diatribe against ‘parliamentary democracy’.

“PTI leader’s [Imran Khan] politics is aimed at making his way to power, even if it meant undermining foundations this country stood on,” Prime Minister Sharif said on his Twitter handle.

PTI leader Imran Khan’s recent diatribe against parliamentary democracy was the latest in a series of attacks that flew in the face of how democracy functioned in modern nation-states, he wrote.

PDM rules out polls before Oct 2023

Although the prime minister spent a silent day on Sunday as no official meeting took place, he preferred to lash Imran Khan through his tweet.

Mr Khan, in his recent interview, had said giving extension to Gen Bajwa as Chief of Army Staff (COAS) was his ’biggest mistake“. This was also endorsed by former speaker National Assembly AsadQaiser who also repented in a recent interview with e private TV channel that granting Bajwa an extension was a “mistake”.

Later, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Atta Tarar said that PML-Q leader Moonis Elahi tried to defame Mr Khan and Gen Bajwa by giving a statement that the latter urged him to join Mr Khan at the time of no-confidence move against the ex-premier despite the fact that Gen Bajwa himself had made it clear the military establishment had been neutral at least since February 2022.

He said Mr Khan was the king of U-turns and he had changed his threat of dissolution of the assemblies and asked government for negotiations.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1724722/pti-chairmans-politics-weakens-pakistan-pm-shehbaz

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IS claim of attack on embassy being verified: FO

Anwar Iqbal

December 5, 2022

WASHINGTON: With the Foreign Office saying it was verifying reports about the militant Islamic State group’s claim that it had carried out attack on the Pakistan Embassy in Kabul, an official US report to Congress doubts the Afghan Taliban’s ability to counter IS.

“Independently and in consultation with the Afghan authorities, we are verifying the veracity of these reports,” the FO spokesperson said in a statement on Sunday, adding the attack was a reminder of the risk militant activity posed to the region.

“We must act resolutely with all our collective might to defeat this menace. On its part, Pakistan remains steadfast in its commitment to combat terrorism,” the FO official said.

Islamic State-Khorasan Pro­vince, which claimed the attack, is affiliated with the Islamic State in the Middle East.

US doubts Afghan Taliban’s ability to counter IS

IS claimed the attack was carried out by two of its members armed with “medium and sniper weapons” and was targeting the ambassador and his guards who were present in the courtyard of the embassy, according to Reuters.

US report

Meanwhile, an official US report to Congress has expressed doubts about the Taliban’s ability to counter IS.

“Experts disagree about the potency of the ISKP threat and the Taliban’s self-asserted ability to counter the group without external assistance,” says the report sent this week to Congress by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

“An arguably more potent armed threat to the Taliban is the local Islamic State affiliate ISKP, a longtime Taliban adversary,” the CRS report adds.

It points out that the ISKP has opposed the Taliban since its 2015 establishment, viewing the Taliban’s Afgha­nistan-focused nationalist political project as counter to IS’s universalist vision of a global caliphate.

According to the CRS, since the Taliban takeover of Kabul in August 2021, “ISKP’s ranks have swelled to as many as 4,000 fighters despite a concerted Taliban offensive, and ISKP has claimed responsibility for a number of major attacks in 2022” inside Afghanistan.

CRS is a Washington-based, congressional think-tank which serves as nonpartisan shared staff to congressional committees and members of both the House and the Senate. It operates solely at the behest of and under the direction of Congress.

On Friday, the Pakistan Embassy in Kabul came under attack with Chargé d’Affaires to Afghanistan Ubaidur Rehman Nizamani being targeted. MrNizamani was unscathed but his guard was critically wounded.

The CRS report also examines how regional dynamics of neighbouring states directly affect developments in Afghanistan and how “events in Afghanistan have consequences for the neighbours” as well.

The report regards Pakistan as the “most important” neighbour for Afghanistan, which “has played an active, and by many accounts destabilising, role in Afghan affairs for decades, including by actively supporting the Taliban during its 1990s rule and much of its subsequent insurgency.”

The report points out that many analysts regarded “the Taliban takeover, at least initially, as a triumph for Pakistan’s regional policy,” pointing to statements of evident support for the takeover from Pakistani leaders.

But the report also underlines recent “indications that the Taliban’s return to power may pose challenges for Pakistan”.

It cautions that the Taliban’s victory “may provide a morale and perhaps material boost to Pakistan-based terrorist groups, including the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which is a US-designated foreign terrorist organisation.

“TTP attacks against Pakistani security forces increased after August 2021, reportedly prompting the Pakistani government to seek the Afghan Taliban’s mediation of several ceasefires, which appear to have broken down in late 2022,” the report adds.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1724719/is-claim-of-attack-on-embassy-being-verified-fo

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Bilawal sees no urgency for general elections

December 5, 2022

ISLAMABAD: While claiming that the coalition government has inherited from its predecessor a ‘divided country’ and a ‘collapsed economy’, Foreign Minister and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Sunday said he did not see the need to hold early elections as was being demanded by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan.

The incumbent government, however, was looking for solutions to internal problems and consensus at the international level, said Mr Bhutto-Zardari in an interview with Al-Jazeera.

The PPP chairman said in order to address the challenges inherited from the previous government, it was essential that the whole country get united as no single political party or individual could address the situation alone.

Rubbishing the accusations of a ‘foreign conspiracy’ behind Mr Khan’s removal, he said political leaders were supposed to speak the truth to their people instead of coming up with conspiracy theories. He said it was for the first time that a prime minister was removed constitutionally through a vote of confidence, not through a coup or court order.

When asked about the possibility of early elections, the PPP chairman said, instead of “furthering democracy”, the early elections would “further Khan’s agenda”.

He said it was important for the country to complete its five years term unless there was any urgency, which currently was not there.

To a question, the foreign minister said Kashmir was an unfinished agenda and since Narendra Modi’s election, the space for Muslims in India as well as Kashmir was shrinking.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1724731/bilawal-sees-no-urgency-for-general-elections

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Urdu Conference concludes with satire on ‘21st century’s Pakistan’

Peerzada Salman

December 5, 2022

KARACHI: The concluding session of the 15th International Urdu Conference on Sunday evening organised by the Arts Council of Pakistan was attended by a large number of art and book lovers as writer Anwar Maqsood entertained them with his satirical piece on ‘The 21st century’s Pakistan’.

He said in these unliterary times, Ahmed Shah (president of the Arts Council) had been striving to keep literature alive for the last 15 years. “But for me (Maqsood) he instructs that I talk about Pakistan while Pakistan has nothing to do with literature.”

He said for the last 75 years, citizens of this country had been living a life of poverty and other difficulties. Politicians don’t care much about them; they only care about the people during elections. In order to improve lives of the underprivileged the rulers six or seven times had sought assistance from other countries, he said.

“The poor say to them do that for your own selves, not in our name.”

Annual moot calls for granting official status to Urdu, equal treatment to all languages

The council’s president then invited Dr Jaffer Ahmed to present a resolution. Some of the points highlighted in the resolution were:

The conference was organised at a time when the horrific effects of the pandemic and floods are still being felt. Natural catastrophes don’t just have to do with nature, but they also have to do with some measures taken by man, that is, environmental pollution. We demand that environmental pollution should be given importance to prevent such debilitating events in the future.

We condemn the atrocities in Occupied Kashmir.

In order to promote literary and cultural activities, a democratic atmosphere is a must.

More than half of Pakistan’s population is below the age of 30. Efforts should be made to help give a boost to their creative abilities.

All languages spoken in Pakistan should be treated equally and efforts should be made to establish translation departments at educational institutions.

The education budget should be increased and discrimination on the basis of education must be eliminated.

Urdu must be made the official language of the country.

The audience passed the resolution unanimously.

After that, Zubeida Birwani was given an award for best Sindhi novel.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1724662/urdu-conference-concludes-with-satire-on-21st-centurys-pakistan

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South Asia 

Iran using former Afghan soldiers as military force: Taliban

3 December, 2022

Kabul [Afghanistan], December 3 (ANI): Iran is using former Afghan soldiers for their military force and they are also being sent to fight in Syria alongside Ukraine, said Taliban’s acting minister for refugees and repatriation, Khalil Rahman Haqqani on Friday, TOLOnews reported.

“I have shared this issue with them (Iranian authorities), Afghans have previously been used in the fighting in Iraq and Syria, and it may have occurred in the war in Ukraine as well,” Haqqani said during his visit to Afghanistan’s Parwan.

TOLOnews reported citing the military analysts who stated that Iran is rather inducting the former Afghan soldiers who have been found as refugees in Tehran after the fall of the Afghan government to the Taliban in August last year.

Former soldier Sarwar Niazi claimed, “They were compelled to contact other groups to cover their family’s expenses, not only in Iraq and Syria but also in the Ukraine war, where they were also recruited by the Russians.

However, the Iranian embassy in Kabul refuted the claim that Tehran is sending former Afghan soldiers to fight in the war in Ukraine, as per TOLOnews.

The Taliban took control of Kabul on August 15, causing the US-backed government to step down. The country has been battered by the deepening economic, humanitarian, and security crisis following the organization’s takeover.

Afghanistan is currently grappling with a serious humanitarian crisis as according to international assessments, the country now has the highest number of people in emergency food insecurity in the world, with more than 23 million in need of assistance and approximately, 95 per cent of the population having insufficient food consumption.

Moreover, the situation of human rights in Afghanistan has worsened since the collapse of the Afghan government and the Taliban’s return to power in August last year.

Additionally, the Ukraine crisis has had a massive impact on the rise in food costs and how it was out of reach for many Afghans. Even while war has stopped in the nation, grave human rights violations–particularly against women and minorities–remain unabated.

Source: ThePrint

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

https://theprint.in/world/iran-using-former-afghan-soldiers-as-military-force-taliban/1247187/

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Under Taliban, lives of former Afghanistan security forces under grave threat: Report

3 December, 2022

Kabul [Afghanistan], December 3 (ANI): In Afghanistan, the Taliban continue to torture and detainment forcefully security officials who had worked under the previous government, because of which the life of these officials has become miserable, according to a report in the Afghan Diaspora Network (ADN).

The Taliban took over Afghanistan after US and NATO forces left in August 2021. Several reports and incidents of killings, torture and forced detainment of security officials who had worked under the previous government have been observed, because of which the life of these officials has become miserable, says the report.

All these incidents are the result of retaliatory revenge that the Taliban is trying to assert on these former officials from the Afghan police, army, intelligence, and militias that were fending off the Taliban with the help of NATO forces says the author of ADN report, Elhamudin Afghan.

Many of these former defence officials were successfully able to flee Afghanistan as they were well connected to officials in the US and NATO forces. At present many of these security officials who have escaped have settled in western countries or have crossed the border and reached Iran. However, those who were unsuccessful in leaving Afghanistan when the Taliban took over in 2021 are now bearing the brunt.

For the past two weeks, there have been daily reports of killings in the eastern region of Nangarhar province. ADN reported quoting Radio Azadi which reported that the bodies of six people associated with the former government were found in different areas of Jalalabad City. Much like what happened in Eastern Nangarhar, in Kabul, an elite forces soldier of the former government was killed along with his two brothers and his cousin in recent weeks, the report mentioned.

ADN reported quoting a November 2021 Human Rights Watch report to state that Taliban had killed more than 100 of these former Afghan defence officials within just three months of their takeover of Afghanistan’s Ghazni, Helmand, Kunduz, and Kandahar provinces.

During that time Afghan social media users shared many graphic videos of torture and killings done by the Taliban to grab the attention of the western forces. It is pertinent to say that no government has yet recognized the Taliban’s government.

Locals of Eastern Nuristan province said that the district officials of the Taliban in Laghman province have arrested, tortured, and then killed in September this year, Bahrumudin Nuristani who was a commander in the previous Afghan army in the Mandol district.

People in the Mandol and Doaba districts of Nuristan province demanded a probe into Nuristani’s murder. ADN reported quoting a BBC report that the Taliban had admitted that Nuristani was arrested and later died in Taliban’s detention.

ADN took interviews of two members of the former Afghan security forces- Shawkat Tareen and Abdullah Bawar – both pseudonyms used by the writer to hide the identities for security reasons.

Tareen recalled the day when the Taliban took over, a day that he and all his colleagues cried. That day people from the Taliban tore Afghan flags, scattered papers and insulted them. And now they have no hope for life as they are now suffering, he was quoted as saying.

“I remember that, on the day of the regime’s fall, most of the soldiers cried. The Taliban pulled down our national flag, scattered our papers, and insulted us. This is our terrible memory. Now we have no hope in life because we are suffering,” Tareen said.

The former Afghan official said that he now has neither physical, mental, social, nor economic security, he is currently unemployed, depressed, and can sleep only with the help of sleeping pills.

He also pointed out that he was frightened about hearing that four of his former colleagues had died between Iran and Turkey on the road to Europe and that his two daughters are suffering under the Taliban regime, which has banned girls from attending schools beyond the sixth class.

Similarly, another security official from Eastern Laghman province quoted in the ADN report states he was detained but released in August 2021. He said in the interview given to ADN that he now does not believe that he will be able to see an organized military for Afghanistan and added that if he gets a chance he will flee Afghanistan.

Source: ThePrint

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

https://theprint.in/world/under-taliban-lives-of-former-afghanistan-security-forces-under-grave-threat-report/1247143/

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Mullah Yaqoob Mujahid Meets With Afghans in UAE

December 5, 2022

During a visit to the United Arab Emirates, a delegation of the Islamic Emirate led by the acting defense minister, Mullah Yaqoob Mujahid, asked Afghans to return to the country and take part in their country’s development.

In a meeting with Afghan traders in the UAE, the acting minister of defense said that he would speak with senior UAE officials about how to improve ties between the two nations and address the challenges facing Afghans in the Gulf country.

"We will meet with the relevant officials if there is a visa problem, an issue with flights, or problems with prisoners. Even if there are problems inside Afghanistan, for example, passport problems or other problems, I will try to deal with these cases to the best of my ability without delay,” the defense minister said.

Meanwhile, the spokesman of the Islamic Emirate said that the delegation will meet with the leadership and high-ranking officials of the UAE and discuss various topics.

"This trip is aimed to strengthen ties between the two nations and to help the 300,000 Afghans working in Dubai with their challenges, as well as other matters that will be on the agenda. He will meet with the Sheik and other elders of that country. He will also meet with several ministries,” said Zabiullah Mujahid, the Islamic Emirate's spokesperson.

"They might have a meeting, but this is not about political negotiations, nor is it about any political process,” said Shahabuddin Delawar, acting minister of Mines and Petroleum.

The former president Hamid Karzai left the country on Saturday for the first time in more than fifteen months at the same time as the delegation of the current government officials.

"The reason for his staying in Dubai is that he will receive a German visa there ... and if any of the Afghans want to visit him in Dubai, this will not be a problem,” said Shahzada Massoud, a close person to Karzai.

"These are planned trips where both former and current politicians travel at the same time and meet there for one or two days. these meetings are good for the future of Afghanistan,” said Islamullah Muslim, a political expert.

Source: ToloNews

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

https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-181039

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20 Tons of Expired Food Burned in Northern Afghanistan

By SaqalainEqbal

December 4, 2022

The Directorate of Public Health in Kunduz province of northern Afghanistan stated that about 20 tons of expired and substandard food were collected and torched.

The environmental health director of the Public Health Kunduz Directorate, Ahmad Noor Omarzai stated on Saturday, December 3 that 20 tons of expired food were accumulated in 8 months.

According to the health official, the expired food materials were collected from wholesale and retail stores in Kunduz city and the surrounding areas and estimated the cost of the materials at 5 million Afghanis.

According to the Acting Director of Public Health in Kunduz, his office is committed to preventing the sale of expired, substandard foods and medications and will take legal action against the sellers.

The authorities ordered the retailers to avoid selling low-quality, outdated products and warned the residents to be careful of the materials’ quality and expiration date to prevent related illnesses.

Previously, the provinces’ public health offices would gather and burn expired, poor-quality foodstuffs and medicines from the cities.

About 50 tons of expired medicinal and food items were collected and burned by the Balkh province Directorate of Public Health a few weeks ago in Mazar-e-Sharif, the provincial capital.

Source: Khaama Press

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https://www.khaama.com/20-tons-of-expired-food-burned-in-northern-afghanistan-56467/

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National Standard Authority Closes Down 20 Gas Stations in Northwestern Afghanistan

By SaqalainEqbal

December 4, 2022

The Afghanistan National Standards Authority (ANSA) stated that it has closed down 20 low-quality gas stations in the Herat province of northwestern Afghanistan.

After inspecting 100 filling stations in Herat province, the local authorities in Herat province told the media on Sunday, December 12, that they had identified and sealed 20 low-quality gas stations.

The ANSA stated that it is committed to eliminating the oil mafia’s presence in the country’s markets and fostering healthy competition among oil traders.

Due to the increase in the price of petroleum products in the country’s markets, the import of oil and gas from Iran to Afghanistan has resumed roughly a year ago at the request of the current Afghan administration.

The deputy of Islam Qala Customs in the province of Herat, ShafiqullahSamim, had previously stated that the ANSA had inspected the oil entering the country from Iran and that tankers would not be allowed to enter if the test result was not optimal.

Afghanistan imported a total of 400,000 tons of fuel from the contiguous country of Iran, from May 2020 to May 2021.

Due to the high cost of fuel, many drivers in Herat City had already abandoned their cars, which caused a significant issue for the city’s residents.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/national-standard-authority-closes-down-20-petrol-stations-in-northwestern-afghanistan-24665/

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UNICEF to Provide Cash Assistance to Tens of Thousands of Afghan Poor Families

By SaqalainEqbal

December 4, 2022

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) announced that over 100,000 destitute Afghan households across the country will receive cash assistance at the onset of harsh and freezing winter from the agency.

According to a tweet from UNICEF released on Sunday, December 4, millions of people in poverty-stricken Afghanistan are unable to meet their families’ basic needs, and as winter approaches, the situation will only worsen.

According to the tweet, UNICEF will provide 112,000 destitute Afghan families with seasonal cash assistance for them, in an attempt to extend “a lifeline to those most in need.”

UNICEF said that the poor in Afghanistan will receive financial assistance from the UN agency with the support of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office of the UK, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), and the German Foreign Office.

UNICEF previously stated that it will distribute cash assistance to 111,000 families across Afghanistan this winter.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has reported that 20 million people in Afghanistan, or half the country’s population, are experiencing severe food insecurity, amid one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

The ICRC also stated that Afghanistan’s economic woes and the harsh winter season pose a threat to the lives of millions of Afghans while stressing the urgent need for international assistance.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/unicef-to-provide-cash-assistance-to-tens-of-thousands-of-afghan-poor-families-35668/

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Southeast Asia 

Religious affairs minister to focus on strengthening unity among Muslim community

05 Dec 2022

PUTRAJAYA — The Religious Affairs Ministry will focus on efforts to strengthen unity of the ummah in building national development, said its minister, Senator Datuk Mohd Na’im Mokhtar.

He said this was due to the current situation where there if a rift in the society.

“InsyaAllah, with prayers by the people and support from all religious agencies, we will ensure that the objectives of Islam can be upheld in the country and we will succeed in uniting the ummah.

“My principle is ‘I seek to understand’ and today, with the holding opf the first cabinet meeting, I’ll see what Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim wants, so that we can set a focus to develop the country together,” he said.

MohdNaim was met by reporters after scanning the time recorder card in his office to symbolise him starting work as the Minister of Religious Affairs at his office at the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (Jakim) Building in Putrajaya, today.

Meanwhile, Mohd Na’im said he would hold meetings with stakeholders, such as government agencies and related bodies, to understand their wishes and aspirations towards empowering the ummah and nation-building.

Also present was Jakim director-general Datuk HakimahMohdYusoff.

Source: MalayMail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2022/12/05/religious-affairs-minister-to-focus-on-strengthening-unity-among-muslim-community/43562

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Fearing persecution and child marriages, women's groups call for Suhakam review of Terengganu Shariah amendments

By YiswareePalansamy

04 Dec 2022

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 4 — Two women's rights groups have called on the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) to conduct a human rights impact assessment of the latest version of the Terengganu Shariah Criminal Offences Enactment 2022, which among others, criminalises pregnancies out of wedlock.

In a joint statement, Sisters in Islam and Justice for Sisters stressed that as a party to the global Convention on Elimination All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on Rights of the Child, Malaysia holds the obligation to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and children.

"The amendments to the Enactment further exacerbate existing harmful impacts on women, young people, LGBTQ persons, among others.

"Given the harms of the amendments and its inconsistencies with the rights guaranteed under the Federal Constitution, we urge Suhakam to undertake a human rights impact assessment of the latest version of the Terengganu Shariah Criminal Offences Enactment 2022," the groups said.

On December 1, the Terengganu government passed four new sections under the Shariah Criminal Offences (Takzir) (Terengganu) Enactment 2001, outlawing witchcraft and shamanism, "females posing as males", females conceiving or giving birth to a child out of wedlock, and sodomy.

"Females posing as males" is an addition to the Shariah offence of "males posing of females", which have traditionally been used to prosecute transgender persons. Similarly, the offence is sodomy is used to prosecute gay persons.

In the statement, the women's groups lamented that the criminalisation of out-of-wedlock pregnancies not only causes unnecessary trauma, but also burdens and shames survivors of sexual assault and others.

"Unicef's Situation Analysis of Adolescents shows pregnant teenagers are denied access to education due to stigma and shame, resulting in them dropping out from school.

"Conversely, the study also cites a 2015 nationwide study that showed a very low knowledge on how to prevent unplanned pregnancies and lack of awareness of contraceptives methods, aside from condoms and birth control pills of young people between 18 and 29 years old," they said.

They also pointed out that the study showed Terengganu as one of three states with the highest cases of child marriages applications via the Shariah courts.

"Sisters in Islam and ARROW’s research shows sex and pregnancy out of wedlock being one of the main contributing factors to child marriage in Malaysia," they said.

ARROW refers to the Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women.

Source: MalayMail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2022/12/04/fearing-persecution-and-child-marriages-womens-groups-call-for-suhakam-review-of-terengganu-shariah-amendments/43385

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GE15 shows political Islam has gained popularity, says Hadi’s son

December 4, 2022

PETALING JAYA: Political Islam has gained popularity in Malaysia and the conservative religious politics of PAS is becoming more attractive to the young and first-time voters as shown in the general election, says a party leader.

Chairman of the PAS international affairs and external relations council, Muhammad Khalil Abdul Hadi, said early analytical reports indicate that new young voters supported the party, although their turnout was not as huge as other age groups.

“The political landscape in Malaysia is changing drastically. Looking forward, as part of Perikatan Nasional, PAS which has always been seen as a religious and conservative party shall prepare itself as part of the government in waiting and function diligently as the party having the most seats in Dewan Rakyat.

“People are anxiously waiting on how the cleric-dominated party will contribute to the country especially on welfare and economic issues,” he said in an article in the party’s organ Harakahdaily.

Khalil, who is PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s son, said in the 15th general election it won the greatest number of seats among all parties with 49 although the Islamic party was never expected to win more than 10% of the 222 parliamentary seats.

He said this was based on the results of the last three national elections, where PAS had won only between 18 and 23 seats.

He added that prior to GE15, it was widely accepted that Terengganu, Kelantan, Perlis, and Kedah were the only northern Malay heartlands where PAS and its brand of conservative Islam were most prevalent.

“Outside its usual strongholds, the party could only win if there were to be a significant change in the voting pattern of both existing voters and, more importantly, new voters.

“In GE15, we witnessed this change in voting pattern for PAS all over the country. In Penang, which is considered one of Malaysia’s most liberal states and has the country’s only Chinese chief minister, PAS won two seats.”

He said in the PermatangPauh parliamentary seat, PAS managed to force out Anwar Ibrahim’s daughter Nurul Izzah of Pakatan Harapan, adding that the seat had been held by Anwar, his wife Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and his daughter since 1986.

He attributed the party’s stellar performance mainly to the wave of young Malay voters getting their first-hand information from social media platforms such as TikTok .

Khalil, who is Batu Buruk assemblyman in Terengganu, said statistics showed that 60% of the six million new voters were Malays, adding that those in their mid-20s to mid-30s tend to be conservative regardless of race.

Source: FreeMalaysiaToday

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2022/12/04/ge15-shows-political-islam-has-gained-popularity-says-hadis-son/

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New religious minister can lead Islamic reforms, says Jakim

December 3, 2022

PUTRAJAYA: The new minister for religious affairs, Na’im Mokhtar, can lead the way towards reforming the management of Islamic affairs, according to the head of Jakim, the Islamic development department.

Jakim director-general HakimahMohdYusoff said Na’im has a strong background and extensive experience in the administration of Islamic affairs, being a former chief judge of the shariah court and former director-general of the shariah judiciary department.

Hakimah said her department believed that Na’im’s appointment would support the amendments to the National Islamic Council regulations in March, one of which calls for a state ruler to head the council on a two-year rotation.

Na’im, 55, is the first former chief judge of the shariah court to be appointed to the Cabinet. He took office today, after being appointed to the Senate.

He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in law, a PhD in shariah law, as well as a diploma in Islamic administration and judiciary.

He began his career as a law lecturer at the International Islamic University of Malaysia from 1990 to 1997 before going into practice from 1997 to 1998.

He was then appointed as the Petaling Jaya shariah court judge and was Kuala Lumpur shariah court judge from 2001 to 2003. He has also been a senior shariah prosecutor.

He has also been in practice as a civil lawyer.

Nai’m was appointed a visiting fellow at the Harvard Law School, Harvard University, in 2013, and has been an adjunct professor at UniversitiTeknologi Mara’s law faculty.

Source: FreeMalaysiaToday

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2022/12/03/new-religious-minister-can-lead-islamic-reforms-says-jakim/

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Indonesia’s Proposed Criminal Code Reflects The Power Of Islamic Radicals

December 5, 2022

By P. K. Balachandran

In a sharp turn towards authoritarianism and archaic religiosity, Indonesia’s parliament is expected to pass, within a few days, a new Criminal Code that will extend the ambit of blasphemy, ban criticism of State Institutions and criminalize cohabitation and sexual relations outside wedlock. 

Justifying the harsh new code, Deputy Justice Minister, Edward Omar Sharif Hiariej told Reuters: “We’re proud to have a criminal code that’s in line with Indonesian values.”

Observers say that this is being done to meet mounting pressure from a growing Islamic radical lobby which has been successfully propagating the view that non-Islamic mores, beliefs and practices have debilitated and corrupted governance and the social and economic order in Indonesia.

The new trend of thought rejects modern democracy, secularism and also Pancasila, Indonesia’s five foundational principles. The five principles of Indonesian Pancasila are: one divinity; humanity; Indonesian unity; democracy; social justice for all Indonesians.  It believes in the supremacy of Islam and Muslims in Indonesia. 

The Joko Widodo (Jokowi) government appears to be determined to go through with the new Criminal Code because it has to refurbish its image to be seen as an upholder of Islamic values ahead of the 2024 elections. Its overall image had been dented by some of its recent economic policies and also its failure to tackle the pandemic satisfactorily. The tried, tested and easiest way to refurbish the image is to opt for the popular religious credo.  

Controversial Provisions

Among the controversial provisions in the proposed code are the following: While blasphemy against Islam is already a crime in Indonesia carrying imprisonment as punishment, the draft code extends the ambit of the blasphemy law to cover other religions that are officially recognized in Indonesia, namely, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism.

The upshot of this would be a plethora of blasphemy charges right across Indonesian religious spectrum.

Under the new code, non-married couples who live together will be committing a crime that carries six months’ imprisonment or a fine as punishment, although only if reported to the police by their parents, children, or a spouse.

This provision will target members of the LGBTQ community especially. Homosexuality is already illegal in Indonesia.

Sex outside marriage is deemed a criminal act. The proposed draft allows parents or children to report unmarried couples to the police if they suspect them of having sex. Sex before marriage and adultery will be punishable by up to a year in jail.

The danger in this is that it will curb the mixing of sexes, which is a key feature of modern society.

The new draft code would continue to criminalize abortions, with a potential jail term of four years, although it allows abortion for medical reasons or if the pregnancy is the result of rape as long as the pregnancy is of less than 12 weeks’ gestation.

However, the proposed criminal code can be challenged in the Constitutional Court if it is felt that it had not followed the correct procedure before it was passed, including seeking relevant and transparent public participation.

Rise of Fundamentalism

The rush to tighten the criminal law by introducing Islamic concepts of morality is attributed to rising Islamism in Indonesia, mainly inspired by Saudi Wahhabism in the past 25 years.

In his paper on the rising tide of Islamism in Indonesia, Prof. Baladas Ghoshal former Chairman of the Southeast Asian Studies Center at Jawaharlal Nehru University, delineates the journey of Islamization in Indonesia in recent times. 

Though Indonesia is 88% Muslim, it is officially a secular country. The national ideology of Pancasila proclaims unity and equality between all recognized faiths. But Pancasila is under serious threat from Islamic fundamentalists. These elements have been making rapid and deep inroads into the Indonesians’ minds and are now mainstream.

In 2021, the government wanted to name a road in Jakarta after the founding father of secular Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The renaming was part of an understanding with Turkey which had agreed to rename a street after the Indonesian leader Sukarno. But Indonesian Islamic clerics opposed the deal saying that Ataturk was an Islamic heretic. Street demonstrations thwarted the renaming project. 

In 2017, There was a street campaign against the then-Governor of Jakarta Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, who was an ethnic Chinese Christian. Ahokwas  accused of “blasphemy” after he referred to a verse from the Qur’an. There was a widespread feeling that this was done only because Ahok was a Chinese and a Christian.

“Sharia law is spreading all the provinces of Indonesia. Citizens are enacting their own variations of Islamic laws, and applying them to non-Muslims as well,” Prof.Ghoshal points out.

The Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI) is the highest Muslim clerical council. In 2005, the MUI issued a fatwa that banned liberalism, pluralism and secularism, especially secularism. The hold of moderate organizations like Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), has weakened since 2005, Prof. Ghoshal says.

And MUI had State backing under Indonesia’s sixth President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Yudhoyono told the MUI’s National Congress on July 26, 2005, that he wanted to give the MUI a “central role in matters of Islamic faith”.

The MUI issued a fatwa on secularism legitimizing  vigilante groups which enforced Islamic morality. In 2005, the MUI declared the Ahmadiyyas as “heretical”  prompting persecution of its followers. In 2006, MUI successfully demanded that the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Ministry of Home Affairs issue a joint decision on regulating the building of places of worship. Following this, violence against Christians increased. From then on, hardliners have been dominating the country’s political discourse, Prof. Ghoshal says. 

The COVID-19 pandemic also fueled radical Islamism in Indonesia, adds Barbara Kelemen in her paper in the series: COVID-19 in the Middle East and Asia: Impacts and Responses.

Kelemen identifies Rizieq Shihab, founder leader of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), as the greatest influence. Shihab was in exile in Saudi Arabia for three years. The FPI propagates the view that deviation from Islamic tenets has been the cause of all the ills of Indonesia. It has built its base by doing a lot of humanitarian work, especially during natural disasters.

During the pandemic, the Widodo government appeared to be protecting the economy rather the peoples’ lives. As a result, it was losing popular support and Shihab’s Islamic campaign was gaining ground. The government’s anti-worker and anti-environmental laws also fueled popular discontent. Members of the Indonesian Council of Young Intellectuals and Ulema, Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia and other Islamic groups also joined agitations against Widodo.

However, even as the government cracked down on the protesters, and jailed Shihab, it was also aware of the inherent strength of the Islamists. Widodo himself tried to improve his religious reputation during the elections in 2019. His party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), has to keep its base intact to fight the February 2024 national elections.

“While Jokowi (Joko Widodo) is barred from running for president for another term, he is probably trying to preserve his legacy while potentially preparing a path for his son, Gibran RakabumingRaka, who ran and won mayoral elections in Surakarta last year,” Kelemen points out.

Writing in Council of Foreign Relations Joshua Kurlantzick says that  Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto could be a formidable challenger in 2024 as he could reflect the popular mood, including the Islamic part.

Subianto has been “closely linked to groups involved in demonizing and attacking religious minorities, a classic tactic of an authoritarian populist, ”Kurlantzick points out.

In the last elections, Subianto alleged that Widodo was a Chinese Christian. Although Widodo won the election, these charges sparked riots in Jakarta, Kurlantzick recalls.

Source: Eurasia Review

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https://www.eurasiareview.com/05122022-indonesias-proposed-criminal-code-reflects-the-power-of-islamic-radicals-analysis/

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Indonesia villagers race to escape eruption as sky turns black

Dec 4, 2022

LUMAJANG, INDONESIA: Thousands of villagers living near Indonesia's Mount Semeru were racing for refuge Sunday to the wail of emergency sirens as lava snaked towards their homes under a black sky after the volcano erupted.

Locals fled on motorbikes sometimes three at a time as a mushroom cloud of ash approached and monsoon rains lashed the area in East Java.

"It was dark and raining. The rain did not consist only of water, but also volcanic ash. It was like mud," said an AFP journalist on the scene.

Indonesian authorities raised their alert level for the volcano to its highest after the crater spewed hot ash a mile into the sky.

It came only a year after the volcano last erupted, killing at least 51 people and laying waste to homes.

Rescue workers were once again rushing to evacuate villagers in the area Sunday as a colossal plume of ash engulfed all light.

One emergency responder, Gunawan, filmed the clouds above as a midday sky turned ominously dark as though midnight.

"It's getting dark, bro," he said to the camera as a seismograph whistled in the background.

The internet was down and phone signals were patchy but villagers were alerted to the danger by sirens and the beating of bamboo drums by local volunteers.

Semeru is the highest mountain on Indonesia's main island of Java and lies around 800 kilometres (500 miles) southeast of the capital Jakarta among a cluster of craters in a moon-like landscape.

The Southeast Asian archipelago nation has nearly 130 active volcanoes.

The eruption last year left locals combing through ruined belongings after their homes were blanketed in ash.

It remains to be seen what damage the eruption will inflict this time with the lava still edging towards homes and their owners told to remain eight kilometres (five miles) from the crater.

Many villagers, mostly women and children, took shelter in local halls and schools, some as far as 20 kilometres (12 miles) away.

Gunawan, who like many Indonesians goes by only one name, said everyone was safe for now, even if their possessions and homes might not be by day's end.

As he flashed a peace sign at a camera against the backdrop of dark haze and monsoon rains at his rescue post, he tried to reassure people.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/indonesia-villagers-race-to-escape-eruption-as-sky-turns-black/articleshow/95980137.cms

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Appointment of Malaysia DPM Ahmad Zahid in important roles a ‘matter of great concern’: Analyst

Jalelah Abu Baker

05 Dec 2022

SINGAPORE: The appointment of Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in important roles amid accusations of corruption has “raised a lot of eyebrows and is a matter of great concern”, an analyst said on Monday (Dec 5).

Mr Ahmad Zahid is the deputy prime minister and minister of rural and regional development. The Malaysian Cabinet was sworn in on Saturday.

Given that Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim needs the BN’s support - with its 30 MPs - to form the government, his “hands are tied”, noted Ms Aira Azhari, senior manager of research (democracy and governance unit) at the independent think tank Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs.

"At the same time, you know, a lot of civil society activists, members of the opposition as well, were hoping that some other mechanism or some other compromise could have been reached,” she said.

Mr Ahmad Zahid faces 47 charges – 12 for criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering – involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to charity foundation Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB).

He is the foundation’s trustee and sole signatory for cheques. The hearing for the YAB trial is ongoing.

“We all need to keep the government accountable, hoping that none of the abuses of power of the past will happen,” Ms Aira told CNA’s Asia First.

UMNO’S ROLE

There may be a “difficult, long and winding road” ahead, Ms Aira added, given the upcoming polls of BN component party UMNO, where Mr Ahmad Zahid’s position as president could be contested.

“He might have challenges to that position, especially now that UMNO is split many, many different ways. So, what happens if firstly, yes, he is found guilty and secondly, what if he loses the party election?” she asked.

The party’s upcoming annual assembly held from Dec 21 to 24 could also change the situation, she said.

“During that assembly … unhappy delegates can pressure the division chiefs who can then, in turn, put pressure on the party president, Zahid Hamidi … maybe pressuring him to pull out of the coalition,” she said.

“There are a lot of variables there.”

She added that Mr Anwar needs to balance these factors and try to keep his government together.

UMNO knows that it is critical for Mr Anwar to have them in the fold because they bring the branding of the Malay, Muslim party, even though they have been losing support among the Malay community, political analyst Ariel Tan told CNA938’s Asia First.

Mr Anwar should be able to get their support if he continues to keep them happy, going into the vote of confidence challenge when Parliament sits on Dec 19, Ms Tan said.

CALLS FOR OLIVE BRANCH WITH PN

Ms Tan, who is coordinator of the Malaysia Programme at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, noted that there have been calls for a reconciliatory gesture between the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) and its rival Perikatan Nasional (PN).

For instance, the PN coalition could be given a bigger role in parliamentary committees, she said.

Another option is appointing an opposition leader, ensuring that the opposition has fair funding and representation at both the federal and state levels. Mr Anwar could also consider an agreement with the opposition, the way former prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob signed one with PH, Ms Tan said.

“I think the one motivation for the opposition to play nice would be that the electorate is tired of the political instability. On the other hand, it is tempting for PN to try to undermine Pakatan Harapan the same way they did before and try to get back into power,” she said.

“Power is tempting and very seductive, because with power, you get resources, you get prominence, and that will help them in the next election so they can't wait too long to get back into power.”

ROLE AS FINANCE MINISTER

Another matter of concern is Mr Anwar assuming the finance minister portfolio, Ms Aira said. She cited what happened with former prime minister Najib Razak, who was also simultaneously finance minister and was jailed 12 years earlier this year for graft and money laundering.

“I don't know if this prime minister will change his decision, but I do hope that this kind of abuse of power does not happen again, because Malaysia cannot afford another 1MDB (scandal), she said.

Mr Anwar will hold a special meeting on Monday, where he is expected to lay down new rules.

“These new rules, we don't know what they are. I'm hoping that it will hopefully be more than just lip service and there will be some concrete action that the Prime Minister wants his cabinet to take,” Ms Aira said.

She pointed to compulsory public asset declaration as one such action that is “extremely important”, especially for ministers.

“I think that’s just the minimal level of scrutiny and accountability that should be expected from our ministers,” she said.

Ms Aira noted that some candidates did so in the run-up to the election but not all did.

She added that she hopes the Cabinet members will take the lead from Mr Anwar, who rejected a Mercedes car purchased by the Prime Minister's Department for his use, citing prudence.

GETTING ECONOMY BACK ON TRACK

Ms Tan noted that Mr Anwar, who first held the finance minister role 30 years ago under the government of then-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, was popular with the West at the time.

She said that she does not expect Mr Anwar to try to rock the boat in the first year given the political instability of recent years.

His first job is to provide political stability and his second job is to steady domestic confidence, she said.

“A lot of the ringgit issues have to do with also low domestic confidence, sending ringgit funds out. But he has an opportunity to cultivate international confidence through his commitment to transparency, institutional reform, and further market liberalisation,” she added.

She noted that Malaysia has good economic fundamentals in terms of a young labour force that is educated and English-speaking.

“It's going to benefit from the decoupling of the global supply chain and so both the West and Chinese companies would be open to looking at Malaysia,” she said, although she acknowledged that the country is “losing some of its shine vis-a-vis Indonesia and Vietnam," she said.

Source: ChannelNewsAsia

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https://www.channelnewsasia.com/asia/anwar-ibrahim-ahmad-zahid-dpm-cabinet-analyst-3122371

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World Cup fans see double standard in stadium politics ban

December 3, 2022

DOHA: The first World Cup in the Middle East has been anything but insulated from the troubles of the volatile region, set against a backdrop of anti-government protests in Iran and an upsurge in Israeli-Palestinian violence.

Fans are criticising what they see as inconsistent enforcement of Fifa rules by the host country. Some were handing out “Free Palestine” t-shirts ahead of Argentina’s match with Poland on Wednesday.

However, while airing pro-Palestinian sympathies has been allowed, security forces have clamped down on fans seeking to show support for protesters in Iran, who have been demanding an end to clerical rule there.

The contrast was laid bare this week outside the Al Thumama Stadium.

On Thursday, security ushered through hundreds of fans draped in flags, hats, and scarves showing support for Palestine ahead of the Morocco versus Canada match.

Two nights earlier, security at the same stadium confiscated items showing support for Iranian protesters, forcing fans to remove t-shirts and some flags ahead of Iran’s crunch match against the US.

As crowds dissipated after Iran’s 1-0 defeat, Reuters journalists saw guards chase men in activist shirts through the stadium precinct, tackling one to the ground as he screamed the cry of Iran’s anti-government protesters: “Woman Life Freedom”.

Ahead of the match, Fifa’s human rights department sent an email to fans who complained about treatment at earlier Iran matches, clarifying that ‘Women. Life. Freedom.’ or the name or portrait of MahsaAmini – the woman whose death in Iranian police custody sparked the unrest – are allowed in stadiums.

Reuters saw the text of the email.

Qatar’s World Cup organisers said that “security authorities stepped in to de-escalate tension and restore calm.” Qatar’s government media office did not respond to a request for comment.

‘A real problem’

While fans see a double standard, analysts say the approach reflects the political priorities of Qatar, a conservative Muslim country with an authoritarian government that has long walked a diplomatic tightrope.

Its policies have included building good ties with Iran while hosting the region’s largest US military base, and hosting the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas while previously having some trade relations with Israel and allowing Israelis to fly direct to Doha for the World Cup – a first.

For fans, inconsistent enforcement of rules had been “a real problem”, said Ronan Evain, executive director of Football Supporters of Europe.

“What we see in the end is that Fifa has lost control of its own tournament.”

He said there had been “staggering” inconsistency over Iranian slogans, saying fans had worn t-shirts declaring support for the protests at some games while getting into trouble for wearing them at Iran’s matches.

He saw similar inconsistency when it came to shows of support for LGBTQ rights, for which Qatar has faced heavy criticism because of its ban on homosexuality.

While rainbow flags are in theory allowed, “in practice we see that this is very different,” he said.

“This inconsistency is putting fans at risk,” he said.

Fifa’s Qatar World Cup stadium code of conduct prohibits banners, flags, fliers, apparel, and other paraphernalia of a “political, offensive, or discriminatory nature.”

A Fifa spokesman said it was “aware of some incidents where permitted items were not allowed to be displayed at stadiums,” and continued to work closely with Qatar to ensure full implementation of regulations.

Iranian-American Saeed Kamalinia said he wore a t-shirt declaring “Women. Life. Freedom.” to six games but concealed it on his way through security for two of Iran’s matches.

He decided against wearing it to the US game, fearing a crackdown.

By contrast, symbols of support for the Palestinians have been widely seen.

“I felt welcomed by the Qatari people and by all present here. People greet us with ‘Palestine Palestine’,” said Palestinian fan Saeed Khalil.

Maryam Alhajri, a Qatari member of Qatar Youth Against Normalization, a vocal group opposed to Arab normalisation with Israel, said pro-Palestinian sympathies showed “that Palestine remains the primary Arab cause.”

Arab states including the UAE and Morocco – cheered by many Arab fans for making it to the last 16 – normalised ties with Israel in 2020.

For Qatar, allowing shows of support for the Palestinians was part of a “hedging strategy,” said Mehran Kamrava, a professor of government at Georgetown University Qatar.

Source:Free Malaysia Today

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https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/sports/2022/12/03/world-cup-fans-see-double-standard-in-stadium-politics-ban/

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Career leap for Tok Mat after years in state leadership

December 3, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR: The appointment of Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan as defence minister in the Cabinet led by Anwar Ibrahim is seen as a career leap for the veteran politician.

Despite being a new face in the federal Cabinet, Mohamad, popularly known as Tok Mat, has the credibility accumulated over 25 years in politics to face the challenges that come with the new portfolio.

Mohamad, 66, has extensive experience in the economy and state administration. He led the Negeri Sembilan state government as menteribesar for almost 20 years since 2004.

He has a strong personality, and that is seen as quite important in facing the various security challenges as well as the threat of Covid-19 even though the country has moved into an endemic transition phase.

Among Mohamad’s proudest achievements is the huge potential development in Sendayan with the construction of an air base on 303.5 hectares, occupied by the air force since 2018.

Mohamad stood in a parliamentary seat for the first time at the general election last month and won comfortably with a 19,897-vote majority in a five-cornered contest.

Source:Free Malaysia Today

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https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2022/12/03/career-leap-for-tok-mat-after-years-in-state-leadership/

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Indonesia set to pass key changes in criminal code that will ban sex outside marriage

05 December ,2022

Indonesia is expected to ratify sweeping changes to its criminal code on Tuesday, senior officials confirmed, in a legal overhaul that critics say could wind back hard-won democratic freedoms and police morality in the Southeast Asian nation.

Among the most controversial revisions to the code are articles that would penalize sex outside of marriage with up to one year in jail, outlaw cohabitation between unmarried couples, insulting the president, and expressing views counter to the national ideology, known as the Pancasila.

Deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, SufmiDasco Ahmad, and Bambang Wuryanto, head of the parliamentary

commission overseeing the revision, told Reuters on Monday that parliament would hold a plenary session on Tuesday to ratify the new code.

The government and House of Representatives have agreed on the draft code, clearing a hurdle to its passage.

Decades in the making, the revision of the country’s colonial-era penal code has sparked mass protests in recent years, although the response has been considerably more muted this year.

Parliament had planned to ratify a draft new code in September 2019, but nationwide demonstrations over perceived threats to civil liberties halted its passage.

Legislators in the world’s third-largest democracy have since watered down some of the articles deemed most contentious.

Revised articles on sex outside marriage and cohabitation, for example, now state such complaints can only be reported by

close relatives such as a spouse, parent or child, while insulting the president can only be reported by the president.

But legal experts and civil society groups say the changes don’t go far enough.

“This criminal code is a huge setback for Indonesia,” said BivitriSusanti, a law expert from the University of Indonesia.

“The state cannot manage morality,” she said. “The government’s duty is not as an umpire between conservative and liberal Indonesia.”

Articles on customary law, blasphemy, protesting without notification and expressing views divergent from the Pancasila

were all legally problematic because they could be widely interpreted, she said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2022/12/05/Indonesia-set-to-pass-key-changes-in-criminal-code-that-will-ban-sex-outside-marriage

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Arab World 

Saudi Arabia hands down death sentences to six more political dissidents: Rights organization

05 December 2022

A human rights organization says the Saudi judiciary has sentenced six more prisoners of conscience to death as the kingdom employs secret trials and controversial rulings as a tool to further crack down on political prisoners and possibly eliminate them.

Sanad human rights organization, which defends political and civil rights in Saudi Arabia, said the verdicts were passed irrespective of the international outcry and criticisms over arbitrary executions of Saudi citizens at the hands of the government.

Sanad said the death sentences were issued against Mohammed Al Tahnoon, Mustafa Abu Shaheen, Abdullah Ghazwi, Zuhair Al Samkhan, Mohammed Al Masbah and Razi al-Shayib.

According to the rights group, the fresh death sentences take the number of jailed dissidents who face imminent execution to 59.

Sanad also emphasized that the government of Saudi Arabia completely ignores international warnings in this regard and continues to arbitrarily issue death sentences against its political opponents.

In late October, the European Saudi Organization for Human Rights (ESOHR) said in a report that Saudi Arabia’s courts had convicted and sentenced more than a dozen anti-regime activists to death following unfair trials and based on confessions extracted through torture and ill-treatment.

The international human rights organization said Saudi authorities had passed capital punishments against 15 more prisoners of conscience.

Human rights organizations argue that the harsh arbitrary sentences given by the Saudi judiciary to imprisoned dissidents manifest the extent of the kingdom’s disregard for international law, rampant injustice, and violations of human rights and civil liberties.

Ever since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman became Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader in 2017, the kingdom has arrested hundreds of activists, bloggers, intellectuals and others for their political activism, showing almost zero tolerance for dissent even in the face of international condemnation of the crackdown.

Muslim scholars have been executed and women’s rights campaigners have been put behind bars and tortured as freedom of expression, association, and belief continue to be denied by the kingdom’s authorities.

Source: Press TV

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https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/12/05/693923/Saudi-Arabia-sentences-six-more-prisoners-conscience-death

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Saudi education ministry launches Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Scholarship

05 December ,2022

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education has opened applications for the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Scholarship Program for the 2023/2024 academic year, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Monday.

Applications opened on Sunday and will be remain open until Monday.

The program, launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, offers students the chance to apply for a scholarship to study some of the best qualitative majors at leading international universities, Dr. Amal Shuqair, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education for Scholarships, said.

The universities which were selected offer degrees that would help achieve the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goals and meet the requirements of the market, she said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/saudi-arabia/2022/12/05/Saudi-education-ministry-launches-Custodian-of-the-Two-Holy-Mosques-Scholarship

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Saudi education ministry launches Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Scholarship

05 December ,2022

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education has opened applications for the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Scholarship Program for the 2023/2024 academic year, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Monday.

Applications opened on Sunday and will be remain open until Monday.

The program, launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, offers students the chance to apply for a scholarship to study some of the best qualitative majors at leading international universities, Dr. Amal Shuqair, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education for Scholarships, said.

The universities which were selected offer degrees that would help achieve the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goals and meet the requirements of the market, she said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/saudi-arabia/2022/12/05/Saudi-education-ministry-launches-Custodian-of-the-Two-Holy-Mosques-Scholarship

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Two dead as protesters, police clash in southern Syria

Dec 4, 2022

BEIRUT: A protester and a policeman were killed Sunday in Syria's southern city of Sweida as security forces cracked down on a rare demonstration by hundreds against deteriorating living conditions.

Tensions were high in the regime-held city after protesters threw rocks at a government building and stormed it, removing a large picture of President Bashar al-Assad from its facade, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

"At least one protester and one police officer were killed," Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

The protester was shot dead when security forces opened fire after demonstrators entered the building, he said, adding that government forces have fanned out in the city, dispersing protesters.

Local news outlet Suwayda24 confirmed the two deaths and said four others were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds in the Druze-majority city.

The Sweida region south of Damascus is the heartland of the Druze, who made up less than three percent of Syria's pre-war population and have largely kept out of the country's civil war.

That war has killed nearly half a million people since it began in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests, fragmenting the country and causing economic collapse.

- 'Pursue the outlaws' - Suwayda24 posted images on social media earlier in the day that showed protesters calling for the fall of the regime as security forces stood guard outside the building.

Other images showed a military vehicle on fire and burning tyres on main streets of the city. Gunshots could be heard in some of the footage.

Syria's interior ministry said a "group of outlaws" killed one policeman while they tried to storm police headquarters.

Some protesters carried weapons, the ministry said.

"We will pursue the outlaws, and take legal measures against anyone who tries to tamper with the security and stability of the Sweida governorate and the safety of its citizens," the ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

State television said "lawbreakers" had stormed the provincial government building and "set fire to official documents and files".

Syria's economy has been pummelled by both its long-running civil war and Western sanctions against Damascus, and the value of the local currency has plummeted.

Ninety percent of the population now lives below the poverty line and 12.4 million people are food insecure, according to the United Nations.

Sweida and other cities have been hit hard by nationwide electricity rationing and chronic fuel shortages that severely hamper daily life.

The government in recent days announced further austerity measures, including more electricity rationing.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/two-dead-as-protesters-police-clash-in-southern-syria/articleshow/95984587.cms

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World Cup host Qatar seeks to change minds on Islam

December 4, 2022

DOHA: Proudly Muslim Qatar has taken advantage of the World Cup to reach out to the hundreds of thousands of visiting fans to change minds about Islam or even make conversions.

The Gulf emirate is the first Muslim nation to stage a football World Cup and its gas riches have endowed it with an array of grand mosques to pique the curiosity of visitors.

Canadian couple Dorinel and Clara Popa listened to the call to prayer at an Ottoman-style mosque in Doha’s Katara cultural district.

It is known as Doha’s Blue Mosque because of the sumptuous mosaics of blue and purple tiles on the walls. A guide took the couple on a tour of the elaborate interior dominated by a giant chandelier.

Dorinel Popa, a 54-year-old accountant, said the couple were taking a first look at Islam. “We have prejudice against the culture and the people,” because of a lack of exposure to others, he said.

– Coffee and faith –

“We have some thoughts in our heads and now maybe some of them will change,” added his wife, a 52-year-old doctor. The Qatar Guest Center, which supervises the Blue Mosque, has brought dozens of Muslim preachers from around the world to Qatar for the tournament.

Outside the mosque there are booklets in different languages explaining Islam and the Prophet Mohammed, along with Arabic coffee and dates.

Syrian volunteer Ziad Fateh said the World Cup is “an opportunity to introduce millions of people to Islam” and change “misconceptions” about a religion that many in the West link to radicalism.

“We explain to people more about ethics, the importance of family bonding, and respect for neighbours and non-Muslims,” he added.

Near the mosque, volunteers managed a table aimed at visiting women with a sign saying: “Ask me about Qatar.” Those who stop are also offered Arabic coffee.

A Palestinian volunteer, Somaya, said most of the questions concerned “the veil, polygamy and whether women are oppressed in Islam.”

Qatar’s record on women’s and LGBTQ rights has been heavily scrutinised in connection with the World Cup. Nearby, visitors can watch a five minute virtual reality tour of Islam.

The campaign is being pursued across Qatar.

– ‘Happiness’ in Islam –

In the Pearl district, where many expatriates live and frequent its expensive cafes and restaurants, murals have been painted with quotes from the Prophet Mohammed urging good morality.

Upscale shopping malls carry advertisements promoting Islam. In the Souq Waqif market, where thousands of fans gather every day, free books and pamphlets are left in one alley with a sign saying: “If you’re looking for happiness… you will find (it) in Islam”.

Near the Souq, the Sheikh Abdulla bin Zaid Islamic Cultural Center is open 12 hours a day for tours.

Some Muslim leaders in Qatar have called for efforts to convert visiting football fans to Islam. Sultan bin Ibrahim Al Hashemi, a professor of sharia law at Qatar University who heads the Voice of Islam radio station, said the World Cup should be used to find new converts as well as counter Islamophobia.

Hashemi told AFP that in his meetings with foreign fans: “I will offer them to convert to Islam.

“If I find the opportunity, I will offer them Islam with ease and grace, and if I do not find the opportunity, I will tell them that you are our guests and our brothers in humanity.” But he stressed that Islam does not accept conversion through coercion.

Social media posts have claimed that hundreds of fans have changed faith but AFP’s fact-checking service has shown those claims are fake.

An official at Qatar’s ministry of religious endowments told AFP that the goal of the state was not “the number of converts to Islam, but rather the number of those who change their opinion about it.” Fans said they found the idea of World Cup conversions absurd.

Source: Pakistan Today

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https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2022/12/04/world-cup-host-qatar-seeks-to-change-minds-on-islam/

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Two killed as protesters, police clash in Syria

December 5, 2022

BEIRUT: A protester and a policeman were killed on Sunday in Syria’s southern city of Sweida as security forces cracked down on a rare demonstration by hundreds against deteriorating living conditions.

Tensions were high in the regime-held city after protesters threw rocks at a government building and stormed it, removing a large picture of President Bashar al-Assad from its facade, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

“At least one protester and one police officer were killed,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The protester was shot dead when security forces opened fire after demonstrators entered the building, he said, adding that government forces have fanned out in the city, dispersing protesters. Local news outlet Suwayda24 confirmed the two deaths and said four others were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds in the Druze-majority city.

The Sweida region south of Damascus is the heartland of the Druze, who made up less than three percent of Syria’s pre-war population and have largely kept out of the country’s civil war. That war has killed nearly half a million people since it began in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests, fragmenting the country and causing economic collapse.

Suwayda24 posted images on social media earlier in the day that showed protesters calling for the fall of the regime as security forces stood guard outside the building.

Other images showed a military vehicle on fire and burning tyres on main streets of the city. Gunshots could be heard in some of the footage. Syria’s interior ministry said a “group of outlaws” killed one policeman while they tried to storm police headquarters. Some protesters carried weapons, the ministry said.

“We will pursue the outlaws, and take legal measures against anyone who tries to tamper with the security and stability of the Sweida governorate and the safety of its citizens,” the ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

State television said “lawbreakers” had stormed the provincial government building and “set fire to official documents and files”.

Syria’s economy has been pummelled by both its long-running civil war and Western sanctions against Damascus, and the value of the local currency has plummeted.

Ninety percent of the population now lives below the poverty line and 12.4 million people are food insecure, according to the United Nations.

Sweida and other cities have been hit hard by nationwide electricity rationing and chronic fuel shortages that severely hamper daily life. The government in recent days announced further austerity measures, including more electricity rationing.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1724758/two-killed-as-protesters-police-clash-in-syria

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Iranians in Iraq skeptical over end to morality police

05 December ,2022

Iranians in Iraq expressed skepticism at reports Sunday that Tehran has abolished its feared morality police, a force indelibly associated with months of protests in the Islamic republic.

Iran’s morality police in mid-September arrested young Iranian-Kurdish woman MahsaAmini for allegedly breaching the country’s strict dress code for women, and she subsequently died in their custody, triggering ongoing protests.

Late Saturday, Iran’s attorney general said that the force had “been abolished.”

But the move received short shrift in Iraqi Kurdistan, where Iranian opposition groups have lately been the target of cross-border missile and drone strikes by the regime.

“The protesters’ slogan is not that the morality police should be disbanded,” said Nachmil Abdi, who works in a shop selling women’s shoes.

“Yes, one of the claims is an end to the compulsory headscarf,” she added. “But the true demand is the elimination of the regime.”

Soma Hakimzada, a 32-year-old journalist born in Iraqi Kurdistan to parents who fled Iran, also viewed the move dimly.

“I don’t think women appreciate this Iranian announcement,” she said, adding that she hoped it would not dampen the fervor of protests inside the Islamic republic.

Elsewhere in Iraq, views were mixed.

“If we want to have a morality police, it must be done with soft words,” pleaded Wahid Sarabi, speaking in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf, but who is from the western Iran city of Hamedan.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/12/05/Iranians-in-Iraq-skeptical-over-end-to-morality-police

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Protesters storm governor’s office in southern Syria, gunfire heard

04 December ,2022

Dozens of demonstrators angry over worsening economic conditions in Syria stormed the governor’s office in the southern city of Sweida on Sunday and set fire to parts of the building amid a heavy exchange of gunfire, the authorities and witnesses said.

Earlier, more than 200 people had gathered around the building in the center of the Druze-majority city, chanting slogans calling for the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar Assad, they said, amid spiraling prices and economic hardship.

Syrian state media said tens of “outlaws” stormed the governor’s office and burned files and official papers.

Three witnesses told Reuters the governor was not in the building which was vacated before protesters stormed the offices.

“The governor’s office was burnt completely from the inside,” said Rayan Maarouf, a civic activist and editor of Suwayda 24, a local website that covers the southern region, who said several people were wounded in the exchange of gunshots.

“There was heavy gunfire,” Maarouf told Reuters, saying it was not clear from where the shooting came from in the heavily policed area.

Sweida province has been spared the violence seen in other parts of Syria since the start of the over-decade long conflict that began after pro-democracy protests erupted against Assad’s family ruler were violently crushed by security forces.

The minority Druze sect, whose faith draws its roots from Islam, have long resisted being drawn into the Syrian conflict that pits mainly Sunni rebels against Assad’s rule.

Many community leaders and top Druze religious leaders have refused to sanction enlistment in the army.

Syria is in the throes of a deep economic crisis where a majority of people after a devastating conflict that killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions struggle to afford food and basic goods.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/12/04/Protesters-storm-governor-s-office-in-southern-Syria-gunfire-heard

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UN refugee agency chief calls for sustained support to Lebanon’s most vulnerable

03 December ,2022

The United Nations’ refugee agency chief called Saturday for sustained support for Syrian refugees in Lebanon and vulnerable Lebanese citizens, three years after the country’s economy began collapsing.

“We must stand with Lebanon,” UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said at the end of a three-day visit to Beirut.

He urged the international community to help the country as it faces “one of its hardest moments” and hosts “one of the largest refugee populations per capita in the world.”

Since late 2019, Lebanon has been in the throes of an economic crisis dubbed by the World Bank as one of the worst in modern history, dealing an especially heavy blow to vulnerable communities, including refugees.

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians fled to Lebanon after the country’s civil war began in 2011 with the brutal suppression of anti-regime protests.

Authorities say Lebanon hosts around two million Syrian refugees, while nearly 830,000 are registered with the UN.

In a statement, Grandi said sustained support for Lebanon was needed “now more than ever... both to support Lebanese in need and the hundreds of thousands of refugees that they have generously hosted for so many years.”

During his visit, Grandi met with officials including caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati “to discuss how to better support vulnerable Lebanese and refugees,” the statement added.

Lebanese authorities have long pushed for Syrian refugees to return to their home country, and have made several repatriation efforts they describe as voluntary, but human rights groups have branded the returns as forced.

“The government reiterated its urgent appeal for an end to the refugee crisis,” Grandi said, adding that UNHCR was working toward this goal “despite the complex and challenging situation.”

Since the Damascus regime regained control of most of Syria, some host countries have sought to expel refugees from their territories, citing a relative end to hostilities.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/12/03/UN-refugee-agency-chief-calls-for-sustained-support-to-Lebanon-s-most-vulnerable

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UAE President Sheikh Mohamed in Qatar for official visit

05 December ,2022:

President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is in Qatar for an official state visit which commenced on Monday, the official Emirates News Agency WAM reported.

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani invited the UAE President to visit and build on the existing brotherly relations between the two nations.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/12/05/UAE-President-Sheikh-Mohamed-in-Qatar-for-official-visit

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Saudi Arabia condemns ISIS attack on Pakistan embassy in Kabul

04 December ,2022

Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry on Sunday strongly condemned an attack on the Pakistani embassy in the Afghan capital Kabul, and the failed assassination attempt against its Charge d’affaires.

The ministry reiterated Saudi Arabia’s support for Pakistan, expressing its solidarity with the Pakistani people, according to a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

ISIS on Saturday claimed responsibility for the attack, which Islamabad decried as an “assassination attempt” against its ambassador.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/saudi-arabia/2022/12/04/Saudi-Arabia-condemns-ISIS-attack-on-Pakistan-embassy-in-Kabul

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Iraq says over 18,000 stolen artifacts retrieved

04.12.2022

BAGHDAD

Iraq has retrieved more than 18,000 smuggled artifacts, according to the country’s foreign minister on Sunday.

“The Iraqi government has made efforts to stop sabotage operations against antiquities, as more than 18,000 smuggled artifacts have been returned," Fouad Hussein said at the opening of the 6th Forum of Arab Civilizations in Baghdad.

The top diplomat, however, did not provide any details when these artifacts were returned.

"Most of Iraq's civilizations have been subjected to various threats, and terrorism has had a hand in destroying cultural landmarks, but these terrorist acts cannot obliterate history,” Hussein said.

The foreign minister called for bolstering bilateral cooperation and coordination to retrieve all stolen antiquities.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/iraq-says-over-18-000-stolen-artifacts-retrieved/2755353

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IRGC forces only ‘a kilometer away’ from terrorists in Iraqi Kurdistan: Colonel

04 December 2022

A commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says the elite forces are very close to the positions of terrorist groups in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region but they will strike the terrorists only if they attack first.

Colonel DelavarRanjibarzadeh, a commander of the IRGC in the border town of Sardasht in Iran’s West Azerbaijan Province, made the remark in an interview with Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen television network on Saturday.

Ranjibarzadeh said the IRGC forces are monitoring the movements of terrorists in the semi-autonomous region in northern Iraq and that they have been able to prevent them from achieving their goals.

The IRGC forces are capable of reaching the terrorists positioned in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region “but they are not doing so out of respect for neighboring countries,” he said. “We are a kilometer away from the terrorists’ strongholds, and we are not targeting them if they do not attack us.”

He explained that the IRGC has a lot of intelligence regarding the terrorists’ activities, adding, “We target them when attacked. Our forces are fully capable of deterring the terrorists coming from the Kurdistan Region.”

“If the IRGC did not bolster their positions in this region, the terrorists would have violated it,” Ranjibarzadeh said. He added that the Iraqi forces had pledged to send reinforcements to the region to provide security.

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.

Since September 24, the IRGC has been targeting terrorist bases in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, amid reports that terrorists sought to ignite riots in Iran’s western border cities.

In a letter to the UN Security Council last week, Tehran clarified that operations against hostile terror groups based in the Iraqi Kurdistan aim to defend the country’s national security, urging the central Iraqi government to shoulder its responsibility to maintain effective control over its entire territory and internationally-recognized borders.

The country, it added, has recently launched “necessary and proportionate military operations” against terrorist groups’ bases in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, which were “meticulously planned and precisely targeted terrorist locations.”

‘Iraq not to use its land to attack neighbors’

Meanwhile, the spokesman for the Iraqi armed forces, lauded on Sunday Iraq’s good relations with the neighboring countries and stressed that Baghdad would not use its land to carry out attacks against them.

“We have good relations with all neighboring countries and we seek to develop them in a way that serves the interests of the parties, with the need to respect Iraq's sovereignty,” Yahya Rasool said at a press conference in the capital, adding, “Iraq refuses to use its land to attack any neighboring country.”

Source: Press TV

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https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/12/04/693903/Islamic-Revolution-Guards-Corps-commander-Delavar-Ranjibarzadeh-Sardasht-terrorist-groups-Iraqi-Kurdistan-region-

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Mideast 

Iran abolishes morality police after months of protests

Dec 5, 2022

TEHRAN: Iran has abolished the morality police, according to an announcement by the attorney general carried on state media, following months of protests set off by the death of a young woman who was being held by the force for supposedly violating the country’s strict Islamic dress laws. The morality police “was abolished by the same authorities who installed it”, the statement by attorney general Mohammad Javad Montazeri said, according to state media reports. But he went on to suggest that the judiciary would still enforce restrictions on “social behaviour”.

He also indicated that the authorities were reviewing the head scarf regulations. But it was not clear whether the authorities planned to relax the hijab law, which remained in force. There was, however, no confirmation of the closure from the interior ministry which is in charge of the morality police, and Iranian state media said Montazeri was not responsible for overseeing the force.

The announcement, reported by state news outlets on Saturday night, appeared to be a major victory for feminists who have sought for years to dismantle the force and for the protest movement ignited by the death of the young woman, MahsaAmini, 22, in September. The unrest has amounted to one of the biggest challenges in decades to Iran’s system of authoritarian clerical ruleand the decision to scrap the morality police was the government’s first major concession to the protesters. Residents posting on social media and newspapers such as Shargh daily say there have been fewer sightings of the morality police on the streets in recent weeks as authorities apparently try to avoid provoking more protests.

The primary role of the morality police was to enforce thelaws related to Iran’s conservative Islamic dress code, imposed after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and recently invigorated by the country’s new ultraconservative president. The dress code for women became an ideological pillar of the ruling clerical establishment, central to its identity. The restrictions require women to cover their bodies in long, loose clothing and their hair with a head scarf or hijab. Despite mass protests,long black robes and chadors, a black head-covering that reaches down the chest, became the norm for women.

When Amini died in custody after being arrested by the morality police on a Tehran street, the nationwide protests that followed focused initially on the Islamic dress laws. The protests, now in their third month, have been led by women and young people demanding an end to clerical rule andgreater social freedom, tapping into years of pent-up anger. Protesters chanted “woman, life, freedom,” tore off their hijabs, burned them in street bonfires and cut their hair in symbolic acts of defiance. University students chanted “Killings after killings, to hell with morality police!” But the protests soon grew to encompass the entire range of discontents with Iran’s ruling establishment, making it unclear whether protesters would be satisfied with this concession.

Demonstrators fed up with political repression, censorship, corruption and economic mismanagement have called for an end to the Islamic Republic. They have taken aim directly at the most powerful man in Iran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whom they want removed from power.

In recent years, Iranian women had grown bolder within the constraints of the dress law, embracing colourful robes, barely covering their hair in loosewraps and, in some cases, even letting their head scarves drop onto their shoulders, baring their hair. Though the morality police still roamed the streets, enforcement appeared spotty.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/iran-abolishes-morality-police-after-months-of-protests/articleshow/95989220.cms

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Iran state TV denies termination of morality police

05 December ,2022

Iran’s state-run al-Alam news channel on Sunday denied media reports claiming the country’s morality police had been shut down.

Earlier on Sunday, several news outlets reported that the Islamic Republic had abolished its morality police which is tasked with enforcing the country’s strict dress codes.

The reports cited comments made by Iran’s attorney general Mohammad JafarMontazeri at a religious conference on Saturday.

According to the semi-official ISNA news agency, Montazeri was asked by one attendee “why the morality police had been shut down,” to which Montazeri responded: “The morality police has nothing to do with the judiciary and it was closed by the same people that established it.”

“Though of course, the judiciary will continue to monitor social behaviors across society,” he added.

Al-Alam said: “No official in the Islamic Republic of Iran has confirmed the closure of the morality police.”

The main takeaway from Montazeri’s comments, al-Alam said, is that the morality police have no relation to the judiciary.

“Some foreign media have tried to characterize the attorney general’s statement as the Islamic Republic’s withdrawal from its hijab (laws) and influenced by the recent riots,” it added.

Protests – referred to by authorities as “riots” – have swept across Iran since September 16 when 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman MahsaAmini died three days after collapsing in police custody. She had been detained by Tehran’s morality police for allegedly not complying with the regime’s strict hijab rules.

Demonstrators have been calling for the downfall of the regime in the protests which have become one of the boldest challenges to the Islamic Republic since its establishment in 1979.

Hijab, which was made mandatory for women in Iran shortly after the country’s 1979 revolution, is considered a red line for Iran’s theocratic rulers. Women who break the strict dress code risk being harassed and arrested by Iran’s morality police.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/12/05/Iran-state-TV-denies-termination-of-morality-police

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Iran protesters call for strike, top legal cleric says morality police shut down

Dec 5, 2022

DUBAI: Protesters in Iran called on Sunday for a three-day strike this week, stepping up pressure on authorities after the public prosecutor said the morality police whose detention of a young woman triggered months of protests had been shut down.

There was no confirmation of the closure from the interior ministry which is in charge of the morality police, and Iranian state media said public prosecutor Mohammad JafarMontazeri was not responsible for overseeing the force.

Top Iranian officials have repeatedly said Tehran would not change the Islamic Republic's mandatory hijab policy, which requires women to dress modestly and wear headscarves, despite 11 weeks of protests against strict Islamic regulations.

Hundreds of people have been killed in the unrest which erupted in September after the death in custody of MahsaAmini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman who was detained by the morality police for flouting the hijab rules.

Protesters seeking to maintain their challenge to Iran's clerical rulers have called for a three-day economic strike and a rally to Tehran's Azadi (Freedom) Square on Wednesday, according to individual posts shared on Twitter by accounts unverified by Reuters.

President Ebrahim Raisi is due to address students in Tehran on the same day to mark Student Day in Iran.

Similar calls for strike action and mass mobilisation have in past weeks resulted in an escalation in the unrest which has swept the country - some of the biggest anti-government protests since Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The activist HRANA news agency said 470 protesters had been killed as of Saturday, including 64 minors. It said 18,210 demonstrators were arrested and 61 members of the security forces were killed.

Iran's Interior Ministry state security council said on Saturday the death toll was 200, according to the judiciary's news agency Mizan.

Residents posting on social media and newspapers such as Shargh daily say there have been fewer sightings of the morality police on the streets in recent weeks as authorities apparently try to avoid provoking more protests.

On Saturday, Montazeri was cited by the semi-official Iranian Labour News Agency as saying that the morality police had been disbanded.

"The same authority which has established this police has shut it down," he was quoted as saying. He said the morality police was not under the judiciary's authority, which "continues to monitor behavioural actions at the community level."

Al Alam state television said foreign media were depicting his comments as "a retreat on the part of the Islamic Republic from its stance on hijab and religious morality as a result of the protests", but that all that could be understood from his comments was that the morality police were not directly related to the judiciary.

Executions

State media said four men convicted of cooperating with Israel's spy agency Mossad were executed on Sunday.

They had been arrested in June - before the current unrest sweeping the country - following cooperation between the Ministry of Intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards, Tasnim news agency reported.

The Islamic Republic has long accused arch-enemy Israel of carrying out covert operations on its soil. Tehran has recently accused Israeli and Western intelligence services of plotting a civil war in Iran.

The prime minister's office in Israel, which oversees Mossad, declined to comment.

Iranian state media reported on Wednesday that the country's Supreme Court had upheld the death sentence handed out to the four men "for the crime of cooperating with the intelligence services of the Zionist regime and for kidnapping".

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/iran-protesters-call-for-three-day-strike-from-monday/articleshow/95982379.cms

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Hamas, Islamic Jihad strongly condemn Israeli president's Bahrain visit

04 December 2022

The Gaza Strip-based Palestinian resistance movements of Hamas and Islamic Jihad have condemned in the strongest term an ongoing visit to Bahrain by the Israeli regime's president.

Hamas official Basim Naim and Islamic Jihad spokesman Tariq Salmi expressed the condemnation on Sunday hours after Isaac Herzog became the first Israeli president to ever travel to the kingdom.

Bahrain signed a United States-brokered normalization agreement with the Israeli regime during an event hosted by the White House in September 2020. Ever since, the regimes in Manama and Tel Aviv have been trying to cement the so-called detente, which has been denounced by Palestinians and their regional and international supporters as a "stab in the back" of the Palestinian cause of liberation from Israeli occupation and aggression.

Naim called the visit "ignominious," and denounced Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah's bid to welcome "the head of an apartheid regime, who leads the [world's] biggest terrorist structure" as "pathetic," the Palestinian Shehab news agency reported.

He reminded that the Bahraini monarch was receiving the Israeli president as the Israeli regime's forces continued executing Palestinians across the occupied territories, saying as a result of the regime's deadly atrocities, the Palestinian youths' blood had started to flow like a "river."

The visit was also concomitant with Tel Aviv's ongoing violations against the Muslim world's sanctities, most importantly the al-Aqsa Mosque's compound -- Islam's third-holiest site, Naim added.

The Hamas official said by ingratiating itself to Tel Aviv, Manama was trying to impose its will on the Bahraini nation. This is while "rulers derive their legitimacy and [political] longevity from their nations' will" not from fraternizing the nations' enemies, he concluded.

The Islamic Jihad official, meanwhile, billed Herzog's trip as a measure aimed at deflecting attention from the Israeli regime's atrocities and acts of terror.

Salmi hailed the Bahraini nation for their protesting the trip, calling on all Muslim and Arab nations to raise their voices against whatever instance of normalization with the Israeli regime and confront Tel Aviv's efforts to make inroads into their respective countries.

Outgoing Israeli premier Yair Lapid, then the regime's top diplomat, visited Bahrain in September last year to open the Israeli embassy there.

Source: Press TV

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https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/12/04/693907/Hamas-Islamic-Jihad-Israel-president-Herzog-visit-Bahrain

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Iran Executes 4 Men for Cooperating with Israeli Intelligence

By SaqalainEqbal

December 4, 2022

Iran executed 4 people on Sunday and sentenced 3 others to imprisonment who were accused of having cooperated with Israeli intelligence, local media reported.

According to Iranian state media, Iran gave four men the capital punishment on Sunday, December 4, who had been found guilty of working with Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, based in Sweden.

Israel has long been charged by the Islamic Republic with conducting clandestine operations on its territory.

The four men were sentenced to death “for the crime of cooperating with the intelligence services of the Zionist regime and for kidnapping,” according to Iranian state media, which announced the decision on Wednesday.

The judiciary referred to them as “thugs” and said that Israeli intelligence directed them when they destroyed public and private property, committed theft, kidnapped people, and forced false confessions.

According to the judiciary’s official news website, the four people — named Hossain Ordokhanzada, Shahin Imani Mahmoodabad, Milad Ashrafi, and ManochehrShahbandi — were hanged early on Sunday.

They are supposed to have received training on how to mask their tracks, avoid surveillance cameras, and switch vehicles, which the Iranian judiciary claimed highlights Mossad’s role.

They are also said to have purchased weapons and equipment while being paid in cryptocurrency.

According to the Mehr news agency, three other people who had been found guilty of crimes like aiding in kidnapping, acting against national security, and possessing illegal weapons received prison sentences of five to ten years.

Source: Khaama Press

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https://www.khaama.com/iran-executes-4-men-for-cooperating-with-israeli-intelligence-67432/

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Israel forces kill Palestinian in West Bank: Officials

05 December ,2022

Israeli forces killed a Palestinian during an arrest raid in the occupied West Bank on Monday, Palestinian officials said.

The Israeli military said it was checking the report.

During an early morning Israeli raid near the city of Bethlehem, clashes erupted, and one Palestinian was killed, according to Palestinian medical workers.

Several other people were arrested, Palestinian officials said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/12/05/Israel-forces-kill-Palestinian-in-West-Bank-Officials

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Misguided getaway sets off security alert at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport

04 December ,2022

A Palestinian car thief rammed through a checkpoint on the way to Israel’s main airport on Sunday, authorities said, setting off a security alert in what they described as the result of poor navigation on his part rather than an attempted attack.

Video circulated on social media showed passengers in Ben Gurion Airport’s departure terminal crouching alongside their luggage as instructions sounded over loudhailers.

Police said the suspect, a Palestinian in Israel illegally from the occupied West Bank, arrived at the airport checkpoint in a stolen car and raced through toward the main terminal. During a brief pursuit, he was shot and arrested.

It was at least the fifth such incident in recent months, an Israel Airports Authority spokesperson said.

As in previous cases, the suspect was believed to have taken a wrong turn off the main Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway, Israeli officials said. That meant his attempted getaway accidentally brought him to one of the country’s most protected facilities.

“It happens almost every week,” a police spokesperson said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/12/04/Misguided-getaway-sets-off-security-alert-at-Israel-s-Ben-Gurion-Airport-

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Iran starts construction on $2 billion new nuclear power plant

03 December ,2022

Iran has begun the construction of a new nuclear plant in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, the country’s atomic energy agency said Saturday.

Mohammad Eslami, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, announced in televised remarks the start of construction of the 300-megawatt Karun power plant in the Darkhovin district of Khuzestan.

Construction of the plant will take seven years and is expected to cost between $1.5 billion and $2 billion, he added on state television.

Eslami said the power plant was “first set to be constructed by a French company,” but that the firm had backed out of its “commitments” after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

“Later, other countries avoided cooperation with the Islamic republic of Iran, because of the sanctions,” he continued.

Under a landmark deal struck in 2015, Iran agreed to mothball its Fordo nuclear plant and limit its enrichment of uranium to 3.67 percent, as part of a package of restrictions on its nuclear activities aimed at preventing it from covertly developing a nuclear weapon.

Tehran has repeatedly denied that it seeks to develop an atomic bomb.

In return for the restrictions, major powers agreed to relax sanctions they had imposed over Iran’s nuclear program.

But the deal crumbled in 2018 when then US president Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the agreement and reimposed crippling economic sanctions.

Iran has since reopened its Fordo plant and last month said it had begun producing uranium enriched to 60 percent there.

It also operates a nuclear power plant in Bushehr, which produces 1,000 megawatts of power.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/12/03/Iran-starts-construction-on-2-billion-new-nuclear-power-plant

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Israeli court rejects release of longest-serving Palestinian detainee

Awad al-Rujoub

04.12.2022

RAMALLAH, Palestine

An Israeli court on Sunday rejected a petition to release Nael al-Barghouthi, the longest-serving Palestinian detainee in Israeli jails, according to a local NGO.

In a statement, the Palestinian Prisoner Society said the Ofer Military Court decided to maintain a life sentence against the Palestinian detainee citing a “secret file” against him.

Al-Barghouthi, 65, has been in prison for 43 years.

In 2011, he was released under a prisoner swap deal between Palestinian resistance group Hamas and Israel.

In 2014, however, he was rearrested and his sentence reinstated.

His defense lawyer filed a petition with the Israeli High Court four years ago demanding al-Barghouthi’s release based on the terms of the prisoner swap deal which state that Israel cannot re-arrest freed prisoners and re-instate their sentence.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/israeli-court-rejects-release-of-longest-serving-palestinian-detainee/2755364

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Palestinians to remain steadfast in resisting Israeli occupation: Abbas

Nour Abu Eisha  

04.12.2022

GAZA CITY, Palestine

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday vowed to remain steadfast in resisting the decades-long Israeli occupation.

In a televised speech at a ceremony in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Abbas said the Israeli aggression will be faced by expanding the popular and peaceful resistance and further action at the international level.

The Palestinian people will not surrender and "will remain steadfast in resisting the [Israeli] occupation," he added.

Abbas said the Palestinian Authority will continue efforts at the international level "to compel Israel to end its occupation and stop its aggression," and to hold Israel accountable for its violations against the Palestinian people.

“Every hour, Israel commits crimes and violations against the [Palestinian] people, land and sanctities,” the Palestinian leader said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/palestinians-to-remain-steadfast-in-resisting-israeli-occupation-abbas/2755354

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EU’s Borrell condemns point-blank shooting of Palestinian in West Bank

Abdel-Jabbar Abu Ras   

04.12.2022

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has condemned the shooting of a young Palestinian by an Israeli soldier in the occupied West Bank.

On Friday, Palestinian activists shared a video on social media of an Israeli soldier while scuffling with a young man in Huwara town, south of Nablus city.

As the young man, who was identified as Ammar Mefleh, tried to escape, the Israeli soldier shot him at point blank, leaving him badly injured. The Palestinian was later pronounced dead.

"The killing of a 22-year-old Palestinian on Friday by Israeli security forces was the latest example of the recent uptick in violence," Borrell said in a statement.

On Friday, the EU condemned Israel’s use of lethal force against Palestinians in the West Bank, citing that 10 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in just 72 hours.

The EU said that 2022 was the "deadliest year since 2006, with 140 Palestinians killed" by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Borrell called for an investigation into the incidents that took place in the West Bank.

"Those responsible must be held fully accountable," he added.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/eu-s-borrell-condemns-point-blank-shooting-of-palestinian-in-west-bank/2755142

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Yemen can return every attack with dozens of missiles, drones: Saree

05 December 2022

The Yemeni Armed Forces' spokesman says the country has reached a level of military capability that has enabled it to respond to the enemy's aggression with remarkable firepower.

"In the past, the enemy used to bomb Sana'a and other provinces. Now, however, we are capable of returning every attack with dozens of missiles and drones," Brigadier General Yahya Saree said on Sunday, Yemen's al-Masirah television network reported.

Yemen's Armed Forces are now prepared to respond to all sorts of offensives and have managed to "create a [new] equation in the balance of fear and terror with the enemy," he added.

Saudi Arabia launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with its Arab allies and with arms and logistical support from the United States and other Western countries.

The objective was to reinstall Yemen's former Riyadh- and Washington-friendly regime and crush Ansarullah. The popular resistance movement has been running state affairs in the absence of a functional government in Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition has failed to meet any of the objectives, while killing hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and turning the entire Yemen into the site of, what the United Nations calls, the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Saree considered the country's efforts to confront the enemy to be a "holy" struggle. He commemorated the country's martyrs, saying they helped found the basis of the security and stability that Yemen enjoys today.

Source: Press TV

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https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/12/05/693915/Yemen-Armed-Forces-military-capability

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Blinken warns the incoming Netanyahu regime against settlements, annexation

04 December 2022

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that the United States would oppose illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, which the occupied regime is constructing irrespective of the international outcry against it. 

However, Blinken on Sunday also said that Washington would judge Benjamin Netanyahu's incoming regime by actions and not personalities.

Controversial Israeli politician Netanyahu is likely to return to power after striking a coalition deal with the extreme-right outfits including Religious Zionism, which could be put in charge of constructing illegal settlements and the Tel Aviv regime’s land grab policies in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Blinken congratulated Netanyahu, who was snubbed by previous Democratic administrations in Washington. 

"We will gauge the government by the policies it pursues rather than individual personalities," Blinken said.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent state with East al-Quds as its capital.

The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued illegal settlement expansion.

The top US diplomat said the Biden administration would work "relentlessly" to preserve a "horizon of hope," however dim, for the creation of a Palestinian state, according to AFP.

"We will also continue to unequivocally oppose any acts that undermine the prospects of a two-state solution including but not limited to settlement expansion, moves toward annexation of the West Bank, disruption to the historic status quo of holy sites, demolitions and evictions, and incitement to violence," Blinken said.

Israel held its fifth election on November 1 in less than four years which came after the collapse of a motley coalition that tried to keep out the scandal-plagued Netanyahu.

Netanyahu’s party-led coalition grabbed 64 seats in the Knesset, the regime's parliament, which packs 120 seats.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has said the election results bode ill for Palestinians.

"The advance of far-right religious parties in Israeli elections... is testimony to the rise of extremism and racism in Israeli society and from which our people have suffered for years," the occupied West Bank-headquartered PA's Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said after the November 1 election.

Source: Press TV

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https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/12/04/693904/Blinken--US-would-oppose-Netanyahu%E2%80%99s-illegal-settlements-policy

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Africa 

Over 5,700 Nigerians who fled Boko Haram attacks return home: Official

Adam Abu-bashal

05.12.2022

ABUJA, Nigeria

Thousands of residents in northeastern Nigeria who took shelter in neighboring countries following attacks by the Boko Haram terrorist organization have returned to their homes, an official said Sunday.

Air Vice Marshall (retd) Lawal Alao, vice chairman of the Victims Support Fund (VSF), said in a statement that 5,704 people who fled Boko Haram attacks six years ago and took refuge in Cameroon and Niger returned to their hometown after the Nigerian army restored security in the Marte area of Borno state.

They were placed in government-built houses in the region, Alao said.

Boko Haram launched a bloody insurgency in northeastern Nigeria in 2009 before expanding to neighboring Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/over-5-700-nigerians-who-fled-boko-haram-attacks-return-home-official/2755489

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Islamic leaders, group, others pray, mobilise support for Tinubu in Oyo, Ondo, Lagos

05 December 2022

Organisations and Islamic leaders from across Oyo State have declared support for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, with grand prayers.

A popular Islamic preacher, Sheik Hamad Alfulanny, who spoke at the programme, tagged “National Prayer for Bola Tinubu’s Endorsement,’ during the weekend, in Ibadan and sponsored by owner of the hotel, Chief Dotun Sanusi, said that pedigree and antecedent stands Tinubu out of other contestants vying for the presidential seat, hence his wide acceptability.

Sanusi said that Tinubu would foster peace and development if elected as Nigeria’s next president.

SIMILARLY, a support group within the All Progressives Congress (APC), under the auspices of Independent Campaign Group for Bola Tinubu/Shettima, has said that it is leaving no stone unturned towards ensuring victory for the party and its presidential candidate at the polls in Ondo State.

Convener of the group, Bayo Ikubuwaje, said that intensive mobilisation of professionals, youths and women had begun across the 18 local councils of the state.

BESIDES, a former member of the House of Representatives, Mr. LanreOdubote, who represented Epe Federal Constituency in Lagos State, yesterday, appealed to all monarchs in Yorubaland and other stakeholders to support Tinubu in the 2023 general elections.

He said Tinubu is the only presidential candidate among the contestants with the necessary political prerequisite to take Nigeria out of the current mess.

Odubote, while speaking on phone with The Guardian, said: “Tinubu can replicate how he tamed insecurity in Lagos at the national level. He can also apply the same economic policies and the assemblage of brains that transformed Lagos economy at the national level if elected.”

Source: Guardian Nigeria

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https://guardian.ng/news/islamic-leaders-group-others-pray-mobilise-support-for-tinubu-in-oyo-ondo-lagos/

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Mali attacks using explosive devices claim lives of 9 soldiers

December 4, 2022

DAKAR: Mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) killed nine Mali soldiers during November in central and southern areas in thrall to a decade-long jihadist insurgency, the military said Sunday.

The armed forces “were in November 2022 the object of three IED attacks leaving nine Fama (armed forces) troops dead in combat, eight injured, and three vehicles damaged,” said a statement distributed to social media platforms.

The bulk of the violence across the month was in the north but also hit the southern region of Sikasso, previously largely spared unrest sparked by jihadist groups such as the Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), led by an Al-Qaeda-linked Tuareg, Iyad Ag Ghali.

Since 2012, thousands have died in Mali and hundreds of thousands have fled their homes in an insurgency which has spread to neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso.

Despair at the toll prompted Malian army officers to mount a coup in 2020.

The following year saw Malian forces launch a large-scale operation against the jihadists amid widespread reports the ruling junta had brought in Russian paramilitaries – a move Bamako denies, but which prompted France to pull out its troop support.

Mines and IEDs are among the jihadists’ weapons of choice.

They can explode on impact or be detonated remotely.

The armed forces’ latest statement indicated troops had “neutralised” more than 70 “terrorists” during November.

The troops also uncovered material used to make IEDs as well as livestock and grain stocks, which local populations are being obliged to hand over to the jihadists as a form of Islamic tax.

Source:Free Malaysia Today

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https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/world/2022/12/04/mali-attacks-by-explosive-devices-claim-lives-of-9-soldiers/

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Thousands protest in Morocco over price hikes, ‘repression’

05 December ,2022

Thousands of protesters marched in Morocco’s capital Rabat on Sunday decrying the “high cost of living and repression,” amid surging inflation and rising social discontent.

“The people want lower prices... The people want to eliminate despotism and corruption,” chanted the crowd, estimated by journalists to be around 3,000 people, the largest such rally in recent months.

“We came to protest against a government that embodies the marriage of money and power,” said Younes Ferachine, a coordinator from the Moroccan Social Front (FSM) group of political parties and left-wing trade unions that organized the rally.

People converged from across Morocco for the protest, which was also called to highlight the cases of several jailed bloggers and journalists.

Hit by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation, poverty levels are back to where they were in 2014, the government’s High Commission for Planning said in a recent report.

Consumer price inflation was 7.1 percent year-on-year in October, due in large part to surging food prices, triggered partly by an intense drought that has hit farmers.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/12/05/Thousands-protest-in-Morocco-over-price-hikes-repression-

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Tunisia’s labor union rejects December election, attacks President Saied’s agenda

03 December ,2022

Tunisia’s labor union attacked the president’s political and economic agenda on Saturday, including elections this month, saying it will no longer accept what it called a threat to democracy in its clearest challenge to him yet.

The UGTT union says it has more than a million members and has proven able to paralyze the economy with strikes. It has at times backed President Kais Saied after he seized most powers last year, but on other occasions has voiced tepid opposition.

“We no longer accept the current path because of its ambiguity and individual rule, and the unpleasant surprises it hides for the fate of the country and democracy,” UGTT’s leader Noureddine Taboubi said in a speech to thousands of supporters.

“We will not hesitate to defend rights and freedoms whatever the cost,” he added, in his strongest criticism yet of the president.

Saied shut down the elected parliament last year and moved to rule by decree before writing a new constitution that was passed this summer in a referendum with low turnout, setting up elections for a new, weakened legislature on December 17.

Most political parties are boycotting the poll, saying the new parliament will have no power and faulting procedures the president has decreed, which include bringing the electoral commission under his purview.

Taboubi said the December election would “have no color and taste” as a result of Saied’s constitution and that the vote lacked national unanimity.

The president’s critics have denounced his moves as a coup and have held repeated street protests. Saied says his actions were necessary to save Tunisia.

Though the UGTT has previously voiced concern, it has stopped short of openly opposing his agenda, except for a strike in the summer over wages and spending cuts.

This year, as the economy worsened, the new government Saied appointed angered the UGTT by proposing subsidy cuts and the restructuring of state-owned companies in a push for an IMF bailout needed to avert national bankruptcy.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2022/12/03/Tunisia-s-UGTT-union-says-elections-expected-this-month-have-no-color-or-taste-

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Libya’s Dbeibeh welcomes UN call for holding elections

Mohammad Erteima

04.12.2022

TRIPOLI, Libya

Head of Tripoli-based unity government Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh on Sunday welcomed a call by the UN envoy to Libya for holding elections in the country.

"I welcome the statement of the Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily, in which he urged all the relevant parties to achieve what he described as the "sole purpose" to go for elections," Dbeibeh said in a statement on Twitter.

On Saturday, Bathily called "on political actors to accelerate discussions on the way forward in the political process, and to create the conditions for the holding of free and fair elections."

On Wednesday, Libyan Parliament Speaker Agila Saleh said there is a consensus between the East Libya-based assembly and the Tripoli-based High Council of State, which acts as a senate, on the reformation of the country’s sovereign institutions.

Oil-rich Libya has remained in turmoil since 2011 when longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi was ousted after four decades in power.

The situation has worsened since last March when the Libyan parliament appointed a new government led by former Interior Minister FathiBashagha, but Dbeibeh insists he will cede authority only to a government that comes through an "elected parliament," raising fears that Libya could slip back into a civil war.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/libya-s-dbeibeh-welcomes-un-call-for-holding-elections/2755243

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Burkina Faso suspends broadcast of French radio RFI

James Tasamba

04.12.2022

Burkina Faso’s military government on Saturday announced it has suspended the broadcast of France’s Radio France Internationale (RFI) with immediate effect.

A statement by government spokesman Jean Emmanuel Ouedraogo accused the broadcaster of giving voice to “a message of intimidation to the population attributed to a terrorist leader.”

The accusation was in reference to a message broadcast by RFI on Saturday, in which the Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM), or Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims, an affiliate of the al-Qaeda and Daesh/ISIS terror groups, threatened civilian volunteers helping the government in anti-terrorism operations.

The government has decided to “immediately suspend until further notice, the broadcasting of Radio France Internationale programs throughout the national territory,” the statement said.

“This media (RFI) … contributes to a desperate maneuver of the terrorist groups to dissuade thousands of Burkinabe” working to protect the country’s integrity, it added.

Last month, authorities announced that a recruitment campaign for volunteers attracted more than 90,000 people.

The military said it intended to enlist 15,000 volunteers at the national level and another 35,000 at the community level.

The suspension of RFI comes amid growing anger in Burkina Faso against France.

Last month, protesters demanding the expulsion of the French ambassador attempted to storm the French Embassy in the capital Ouagadougou.

The protesters, mostly young men, accused France of being responsible for Burkina Faso’s problems, including the persistent insecurity.

The West African country has witnessed two coups this year.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/burkina-faso-suspends-broadcast-of-french-radio-rfi/2755016

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Europe 

FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar records highest-ever attendance in tournament’s history

04 December ,2022

The FIFA World Cup in Qatar has recorded the highest-ever attendance in the global football tournament’s history, with a cumulative stadium attendance of 2.45 million spectators, a report finds.

A report published by FIFA on its Qatar 2022 portal suggested that after 13 days and 48 matches, the first edition of the tournament to be hosted in the Middle Eastern region has seen a record turnout, with an average of 96 percent occupancy, higher than the corresponding 2.17 million figure recorded during its 2018 edition in Russia.

The highest-ever attendance in the history of the World Cup since the 1994 final w as seen at the Lusail Stadium in Qatar when 88,966 fans watched the Argentina v. Mexico match last Saturday, November 26.

Another interesting factor in this year’s edition of the World Cup is that teams from all continents have advanced to the Round of 16, in another first for the global tournament.

Three teams from the Asia Pacific region – Australia, Japan and South Korea – reached the knockout stages in a competition record for the region which previously only had two teams in 2002 and 2010. Also remarkable was that two African teams – Senegal and Morocco – also reached the knockout stages, last such occasion took place in 2014.

“The outcome of the group stage shows the extent to which more countries have acquired the tools to compete at the highest level,” said FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development, Arsène Wenger, said in a statement on Sunday.

“This is the result of better preparation and analysis of the opponents, which is also a reflection of a more equal access to technology. It is very much in line with FIFA’s efforts to increase football’s competitiveness on a global scale.”

One particularly remarkable record was set by Portuguese football legend Cristiano Ronaldo who was the first player in history to score at five editions of the World Cup.

History was also made by Stephanie Frappart, who became the first woman to officiate a FIFA World Cup match, and, together with Neuza Back and Karen Díaz Medina, formed the first all-female trio to take charge.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/sports/2022/12/04/FIFA-World-Cup-2022-Qatar-records-highest-ever-attendance-in-tournament-s-history

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Clashes break out in Italy as far-right, left-wing groups hold rallies

ROMA

04 December ,2022

Clashes broke out Sunday in Italy after far-right and left-wing activists held separate rallies against the Russia-Ukraine war.

A group of about 300 far-right and pro-Russian activists gathered in Piazzale Cadorna in the center of Milan to protest against sending weapons to Ukraine and the expansion of anti-Russian sanctions.

Marching with torches and Italian flags, they carried banners saying "We are united against the war" and "No to hostility to Russia."

Meanwhile, more than 500 left-wing demonstrators gathered in Largo Cairoli Square to protest against the ongoing Ukraine war and "fascism."

Security forces intervened when the left-wing group attempted to march toward the area where the extreme rightists were holding demonstrations.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/clashes-break-out-in-italy-as-far-right-left-wing-groups-hold-rallies/2755495

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Northern Cyprus opposes Bob Menendez’s anti-Turkish remarks

Mehmet Kemal Firik

03.12.2022

The Turkish Cypriot president on Friday slammed anti-Turkish statements by US Sen. Bob Menendez over the Island of Cyprus.

The admission of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) as an observer member of the Organization of Turkic States (TDT) and the visit of Gambian Vice President BadaraJoof drew great attention across the world, the presidency stressed in a statement.

That is why the Greek-Greek Cypriot duo made various attempts to block the TRNC's progress toward recognition. The EU, the US and some other forces also took action, it said.

Turkish Cypriot President Ersin Tatar underscored that the chairperson of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, under the guidance of the Greek-Greek Cypriot lobby, made claims on the status of the island with a pro-Greek attitude.

"First of all, the chairperson of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the whole world should know very well that the occupier who exists in Cyprus is the Greek-Greek Cypriot duo who turned the Republic of Cyprus, in which the Turkish Cypriot people are equal founding partners, into a Greek state by force of arms, and this occupation still continues," Tatar said.

He noted that supporters of the duo, who could not digest the steps to recognize the TRNC, continued their attacks, expressing satisfaction that Menendez lifted the arms embargo imposed by the US on the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus and expressed that his support for armament could not be accepted. 

Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.

Ethnic attacks starting in the early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety.

In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece's annexation of the island led to Türkiye's military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the TRNC was founded in 1983.

It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Türkiye, Greece and the UK.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/northern-cyprus-opposes-bob-menendez-s-anti-turkish-remarks/2754469

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Sweden extradites PKK/KCK terror group member to Türkiye

Kenan Irtak, EmrahGökmen

03.12.2022

Sweden extradited a PKK/KCK terror group member to Türkiye on Friday.

Mahmut Tat was sentenced to six years and 10 months in prison in Sweden after he was arrested on charges of being a member of the PKK/KCK terror organization.

He applied for asylum in Sweden in 2015 because of his sentence but was denied.

Tat was taken to a detention center in Molndal. After completing procedures he was sent to Türkiye by plane.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO in May, abandoning decades of military non-alignment, a decision spurred by Russia's war against Ukraine.

But Türkiye -- a NATO member for more than 70 years -- voiced objections to their membership bids, accusing the two countries of tolerating and even supporting terror groups.

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

Under the memorandum, Finland and Sweden extend their full support to Türkiye countering threats to its national security. To that effect, Helsinki and Stockholm are not to provide support to the YPG/PYD terror group or the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) -- the group behind the defeated 2016 coup in Türkiye.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is its Syrian offshoot.

Turkish officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have warned that Türkiye will not give the nod to the memberships of Sweden and Finland until the memorandum is implemented.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/sweden-extradites-pkk-kck-terror-group-member-to-turkiye/2754466

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Iraqi in UK who saved baby niece via illegal entry granted leave to remain

December 04, 2022

LONDON: An Iraqi man who saved his baby niece by bringing her to the UK illegally has been granted leave to remain following years of legal attempts by the Home Office to deport him, The Guardian reported.

Najat Ibrahim Ismail, who arrived in Britain in 2004, saved his niece, Rwen Tahsin Ibrahim, then only 7 months old, after she had sustained significant burn injuries in a French refugee camp.

Her parents had fled Iraq following the expansion of Daesh and in 2016 had traveled to France.

Ismail, 35, heard the news of his relative’s injuries and traveled to Dunkirk, where he drove his niece back to Britain illegally in a bid to give her access to urgent medical care.

In 2017, he was prosecuted for assisting illegal entry into the UK.

As a result, the UK Home Office pursued his deportation three times, but to no avail.

Now the 35-year-old, who is married to a British woman and has three children, has been granted leave to remain following years of legal campaigning by his solicitor.

His niece — whose family has also been given leave to remain — has since made a full recovery following the 2016 incident and is now in school.

Ismail said: “For the first time I can sleep well. I’m the happiest person in the world and I can’t stop smiling.

“I can’t thank my solicitor enough. She saved my life.”

Though a judge condemned Ismail’s actions in assisting the illegal entry, they said: “I do accept that you were not a person who was trafficking for gain. These were family members you decided to assist.”

Hannah Baynes, Ismail’s solicitor, said: “We are very pleased that Najat will be allowed to remain in the UK after so many years of uncertainty.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2210741/world

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North America 

Blinken says US to work closely with Israel, continues to support two state solution

05 December ,2022

The US plans to work closely with Israel’s new government, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a left-leaning Jewish group in Washington on Sunday, and continues to support a two-state solution to end the decades-long conflict with Palestinians.

The US administration expects “the new Israeli Government to continue to work with us to advance our shared values, just as we have previous governments,” Blinken told the nonprofit J Street liberal advocacy group. “We will gauge the government by the policies it pursues rather than individual personalities,” he said.

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

“Security assistance to Israel is sacrosanct,” Blinken said, noting the more than $3 billion the US provides to Israel in foreign military funding.

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu reached a coalition deal with the far-right Religious Zionism party, which opposes Palestinian statehood and supports extending Israeli sovereignty into the West Bank.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, who was convicted in 2007 of racist incitement against Arabs and backing a group considered by Israel and the United States to be a terrorist organization, is Israel’s new security minister, with responsibility for Border Police in the occupied West Bank.

President Joe Biden remains committed to “realizing the enduring goal of two states,” Blinken said. “We believe Palestinians and Israelis, like people everywhere, are entitled to the same rights and the same opportunities.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2022/12/05/Blinken-says-US-to-work-closely-with-Israel-continues-to-support-two-state-solution

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US Navy seizes ammunition-laden vessel from Iran to Yemen

Abdel-Jabbar Abu Ras  

04.12.2022

The US Navy said it had seized a fishing trawler smuggling ammunition from Iran to war-torn Yemen.

In a statement, the Bahrain-based United States Fifth Fleet said the boat was intercepted in the Gulf of Aden on Dec. 1 while carrying more than 50 tons of ammunition rounds, fuses, and propellants for rockets.

“This significant interdiction clearly shows that Iran’s unlawful transfer of lethal aid and destabilizing behavior continues,” Vice Admiral Brad Cooper said. “US naval forces remain focused on deterring and disrupting dangerous and irresponsible maritime activity in the region.”

Last month, the US Navy said it had thwarted the smuggling of a huge shipment of fuel for rockets in the Gulf of Oman on its way to Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen.

There was no comment from Iranian authorities on the US accusations.

The US and the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen accuse Iran with supplying Houthi rebels of weapons, an accusation denied by Tehran.

Yemen’s civil war began in September 2014, when Houthi rebels captured much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa. A military coalition led by Saudi Arabia entered the war in early 2015 to restore the government to power.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-navy-seizes-ammunition-laden-vessel-from-iran-to-yemen/2755185

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Canada imposes additional sanctions on Iranians, including former Tehran police chief

Barry Ellsworth  

03.12.2022

TRENTON, Canada

Canada slapped more sanctions on Iranian companies and individuals Friday, including on a former Tehran police chief who was seen in a Toronto gym in 2021.

"MoretzaTalaei (is) a Second Brigadier General of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and former commander of Tehran's Law Enforcement Forces," the Canadian government said in a statement.

He was Tehran's police chief in 2003 when Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi was beaten to death after taking pictures of Tehran's Evin prison, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

Under the sanctions, Canada can ban those from entering the country and freeze assets they have in Canada.

"We're looking and continuing to look at all ways to ensure that the Iranian regime knows its continued reprehensible behaviour is absolutely unacceptable," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/canada-imposes-additional-sanctions-on-iranians-including-former-tehran-police-chief/2754468

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US condemns shooting at Pakistan’s embassy in Afghanistan

December 03, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The US on Saturday condemned an attack a day earlier on the Pakistani Embassy in Afghanistan’s capital, in which a senior Pakistani diplomat escaped unhurt but one of his Pakistani guards was wounded, sending a wave of anger in this Islamic nation.

Friday’s assault comes amid rising tensions between the South Asian neighbors over Islamabad’s claims that anti-Pakistan forces are organizing terrorist attacks from hideouts in Afghanistan.

Shots were fired at the embassy from a nearby building by an as-yet known assailant or assailants. Shortly after the shooting, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif took to Twitter on Friday, calling the attack an “assassination attempt” against Pakistan’s head of mission in Afghanistan, Ubaid-ur-Rehman Nizamani.

Pakistan repatriated the wounded guard Israr Mohammad by helicopter and he was being treated at a hospital on Saturday.

The embassy attack came days after Pakistan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar flew to Kabul to hold talks with Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi on a range of issues, including the latest threat from Pakistani Taliban who recently ended a monthslong ceasefire with Pakistan and asked fighters to resume attacks across the country.

In Washington, US State Department spokesman Ned Price on Friday said the US condemned the Embassy attack, telling reporters “we offer our sympathies and wish a quick recovery to those affected by the violence.”

The US is “deeply concerned by the attack on a foreign diplomat and we call for a full and transparent investigation,” Price said.

The US chargé d’affaires for Afghanistan, Karen Decker also condemned the attack on Nizamani in a tweet Saturday.

“Outraged at attack on my diplomatic counterpart @PakinAfg, Ubaid Nizamani; I am grateful he is safe & wish a quick recovery to the brave security guard who was injured. I join the call for a swift, thorough and transparent investigation,” Decker wrote.

Muttaqi on Friday evening called Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to condemn the “terrorist attack” targeting Nizamani, according to a Pakistani Foreign Ministry statement.

Muttaqi assured Bhutto-Zardari that “the Afghan government will bring the perpetrators of this heinous attack to justice swiftly,” the statement said.

Bhutto-Zardari thanked Muttaqi and said the “Taliban government must prevent the terrorists from undermining relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan,” the statement said. It said Pakistan on its part reiterated its unwavering commitment to fight terrorism, saying “Pakistan will be undeterred by such cowardly attacks.”

Friday’s shooting comes a day after Pakistan demanded Afghanistan’s Taliban government prevent terrorist attacks being organized from their soil by Pakistani Taliban, who are hiding in Afghanistan.

Pakistan made the request after a suicide bomber dispatched by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan group, or TTP blew himself up near a truck carrying police officers on their way to protect polio workers near Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province. A police officer and three civilians were killed in Wednesday’s attack.

The Pakistani Taliban are a separate group but allied with the Afghan Taliban, who seized power in their country last year as the US and NATO troops were in the final stages of their pullout from Afghanistan.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2210371/world

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Imam Abdul Alim Musa: US Muslim leader and advocate of Islamic Revolution

05 December 2022

By: Mohsen Badakhsh

Muslim communities in the greater Washington DC metropolitan area and across the United States on November 25 bid tearful adieu to the revolutionary African-American Muslim leader, Abdul Alim Musa, who devoted his entire life to the struggle against American hegemony and Israeli apartheid while fervently championing the cause of Iran’s Islamic Revolution.

Imam Musa was widely regarded as a leading advocate of the struggle against the scourge of racism and White supremacy in the US as well as America’s global hegemonic ambitions, following in the footsteps of Martyr Malcolm X, an American Muslim civil rights leader who was assassinated in 1965 by undercover government agents.

Perhaps the most outstanding tribute to the life and legacy of Imam Musa is more than 50 years of indefatigable and selfless struggle for justice, peace and human rights while persistently advocating the Islamic Revolution across the globe, despite numerous obstacles on the way.

What impressed me the most about Imam Musa in the early 1980s, when I was a student activist in the Washington DC area, was his assertive, yet simple, talk about his own life experience.

He frankly spoke about being lured by federal agents into a highly profitable business of distributing narcotics among youth in African American neighborhoods and eventually being arrested and imprisoned before he converted to Islam and dedicated the rest of his life to serve and spread the message of Islam.

Born in February 1945 as Clarence Reams in Arkansas, Imam Musa in the 1960s accompanied his family to Los Angeles, California, where he was recruited to become the CEO of one of the largest drug distribution centers on the West Coast of the United States.

In 1981, after being released from prison in narcotics operations case, Imam Musa converted to Islam and settled in Oakland, California, where he founded Masjid al-Islam with the help and support of his elder brother, Buddy, and worked tirelessly to give back to the society.

Imam Musa was a Muslim leader who stressed the significance of building strong moral character in his community members. His enlightening speeches underlined the importance of Muslim unity across the globe. His travels throughout the world provided him with a world-class education.

He remained a symbol of struggle, defiance, humanitarianism, and optimism. He was in effect a combatant for over five decades against any system that opposed the full realization of humanity of any people regardless of their race, color or religion.

Imam Musa was also the leader and founder of the As-Sabiqun Movement. He believed that we have to be the ones we are looking for. The movement was dedicated to uplifting the Muslim world and particularly the Black community.

While deeply critical of oppressive policies and practices of the US government against African Americans and other minorities in the country, Imam Musa was well-informed about international developments and passionately advocated the cause of Palestinian resistance against the Israeli regime’s occupation and atrocities, blasting Western powers for backing an illegitimate regime as part of their abusive history of colonizing Africa and other regions of the world.

He always hailed the struggle of other resistance groups and people that fought against foreign-backed meddling and military invasions in places such as Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Venezuela, Libya and elsewhere, slamming what he bluntly described as subversive US-led military, political and economic terrorism against independent and weak nations aimed at plundering their wealth and resources.

Another remarkable trait that defined Imam Musa was his continuing and impassioned support for the Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Republic in Iran.

He closely followed developments in the country and courageously censured all foreign and domestic schemes to destabilize the Islamic Republic, which he praised as the best existing model for other Muslim nations to follow.

Imam Musa believed that the Islamic Republic founded by Imam Khomeini in 1979 advocated justice and independence for all nations struggling against West-backed autocrats.

In addition to his incredible patience and resolve to continue with the Islamic struggle, Imam Musa was also extremely kind and compassionate towards fellow Muslims of all races and ethnic backgrounds.

While expressing his love and affection for his former supporters and comrades, he would kindly caution them against trusting what he described as “the Great Satan,” insisting that their newly found affluent lifestyle may suddenly turn against them if they remained indifferent about injustices perpetrated by oppressors within their own communities and elsewhere.

In fact, Imam Musa also shared with me a few years ago his displeasure and concerns about a growing number of Muslim immigrant communities and Islamic centers in the United States turning their backs on American Muslims and no longer welcoming them in their centers as part of an effort to keep them in some sort of ethnic-specific gathering places with little regard for issues affecting the rights of Muslims across the US and the world over.

He, of course, saw this as a direct outcome of persisting US surveillance of mosques and Islamic centers across the country as well as its declared efforts to spy on individuals attending Islamic centers and even recruiting Muslim informants to spy on other Muslims.

As a result, he said, many Muslims tend to avoid active participation in political issues, fearing that they or family members could be targeted or harassed by federal agents.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/12/05/693918/Imam-Abdul-Alim-Musa-US-Muslim-Leader-Obituary

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US looking for ‘excuse’ to derail talks on reviving Iran nuclear deal: Russian source

04 December 2022

A Russian diplomatic source says the administration of US President Joe Biden is looking for an “excuse” to derail talks on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“Statements are being made overseas every now and then that make one doubt the current US administration’s commitment to its promises to bring the US back to the JCPOA,” the unnamed source told Russia’s Sputnik news agency on Sunday, Tasnim reported.

“Americans are thrashing about and looking for a convenient excuse to derail from the course on revival of the nuclear deal,” the source added, expressing hope that Washington can more strongly show its dedication to renewing the landmark deal and correcting prior mistakes.

The source further said that the US should observe the United Nations Security Council’s Resolution 2231, which endorses the JCPOA, and correct its own violations of the resolution.

The Russian source also said that experts with the Vienna talks have found during months of work that the deal’s revival on the originally-agreed terms was possible.

“For this, our US colleagues just lack the political will to make the final step on reaching an agreement on this matter. We hope that they will stop muddying waters, pull themselves together and follow through on the revival of the nuclear deal,” the source added.

Earlier this week, US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley said Biden is willing to take military action against Iran if Tehran rejects Washington’s terms on the nuclear deal. Malley also said Washington would rather focus its attention on recent riots across Iran rather than the Vienna talks.

The Iran nuclear deal was signed in 2015 between Tehran and the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China during the presidency of Barack Obama.

However, Obama’s successor Donald Trump abandoned the JCPOA in May 2018 and slapped cruel sanctions on Iran. Biden had vowed to resume talks to revive the deal and remove the harsh US sanctions. Two years into his presidency, Biden has failed to keep his promise and is now threatening to take military action.  

Iran maintains that it is necessary for the other side to offer some guarantees that it will remain committed to any agreement that is reached.

The talks to salvage the agreement kicked off in the Austrian capital of Vienna in April last year, with the intention of examining Washington’s seriousness in rejoining the deal and removing anti-Iran sanctions.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/12/04/693889/US-looking-for-excuse-derail-Iran-deal-revival-talks-Russian-source

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URL:  https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/election-women-islam-shahi-imam-jama-masjid/d/128566

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