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Islamic World News ( 24 May 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Hacked Files Focused on Counter-Terrorism, And Deradicalisation Divulge China’s Persecution of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang

New Age Islam News Bureau

25 May 2022

 

As the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, visits cities in the region, a new cache of hacked Chinese police photographs and documents has been leaked, revealing the human toll of Beijing’s treatment of its Uyghur minority in Xinjiang.

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• Change Gyanvapi Mosque to Gyanvapi Temple on Google Maps: Bengaluru School Emails Alumni, Preethi Krishnamoorthy, Based In Hawaii

• ‘Appalled’ US Suspects Uyghur Abuse Approved At Beijing ‘Highest Levels’

• Islamophobia 'More Common' In Bosnia Herzegovina than In Rest of Europe

• The Taliban Sets Up a Commission to Convene a Loya Jirga for the Peace and Development of Afghanistan

 

Southeast Asia

• Indonesia May Outlaw Gay Sex amid Growing Anti-LGBTQ Sentiment

• Reject Preachers Who Go Against Islamic Values of Humanity and Mercy: Singapore Muslim Leaders Urge

• Malaysia’s support of Palestinians should be echoed by all Muslim countries: Envoy

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India

• “Temple-Like Architectural Structure" Inside the Malali Juma Masjid near Mangaluru; the Mosque Was Once a Temple, Section 144 Imposed

• Varanasi's Gyanvapi Mosque: New Plea in Court from Where Case Was Moved

• BJP woos Muslim faces from backward castes

• Was Pune’s Punyeshwar Temple Destroyed to Build a Muslim Shrine? Historian Disagrees

• Varanasi: Vishwa Vedic Sanatan Sangh chief seeks ban on entry of Muslims into Gyanvapi premises

• Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi: Copy of HC order on Shahi Idgah Mosque dispute submitted to Mathura court

• 3 Pakistani terrorists, Jammu and Kashmir cop killed in Baramulla encounter

• Witnesses: Dawood is in Pakistan, sends Rs 10 lakh per month to siblings

• ‘Lashkar man’ trying to recruit cadre held in Pune, hunt on for 3 others

• NSA Ajit Doval to bat for inclusive Afghanistan govt at Dushanbe meet

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North America

• FBI Says It Thwarted Islamic State Supporter’s Plot to Kill Ex-US President Bush

• US adds Hamas-linked individual, entities to sanctions list: Treasury

• US urges Greece, Turkiye 'to work together to maintain peace'

• US condemns, warns Turkey against plans for military operation in Syria

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Europe

• Six Convicted For Harassing French Teenager Over Anti-Islam Videos

• Social entrepreneurship project for refugees, host communities in Turkiye to start this week

• NATO chief acknowledges Turkiye’s concerns on Sweden, Finland's membership bids

Sweden, Finland delegations in Turkey for NATO talks

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South Asia

• UN Security Council Calls on the Taliban to “Reverse” the Policies Restricting the Human Rights

• The Taliban Signs the Agreement with UAE to Cooperate on Airport Operations

• Boat carrying Rohingya fleeing Myanmar capsizes, killing 16

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Pakistan

• Pak-Afghan People Bound In Religious, Social Ties: Minister Religious Affairs

• Imran Khan's Azadi March: PTI Members Arrested, Islamabad Sealed

• Parvez supports PTI’s long march, Tahirul Qadri stays away

• Default Threat Reaches Pakistan in Deepening Political Crisis

• Pakistan bans ousted PM Khan's protest march after policeman killed

• Gwadar anti-terrorism court grants bail to terror suspect

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Arab World

• Iraq's Political Stalemate Raising Chances of Shia on Shia Clashes

• Egypt approves flights from Houthi-held Yemen capital: Government

• Lebanon currency hits new low after vote, crisis deepens

• Three Turkish soldiers killed in Iraq: Defence ministry

• Iraqi officials: Attacks by ISIS militants kill 12 civilians

• PKK terror group targets TV station building with rockets in Iraq's Duhok city

• Egypt's National Dialogue unlikely to include Muslim Brotherhood

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Mideast

• Iranian Deputy FM: West Rewards Terrorists by Silence

• President: US Admits Disgraceful Failure in Maximum Pressure Policy against Iran

• Commander: Iran to Make Enemies Regret Terror Attack on IRGC Officer

• Iran: Israel Playing Role of Terrorists in Syria

• Palestinian teen shot dead in Israeli raid on West Bank

• Turkish minister aims to boost Palestinian economy in rare West Bank trip

• 5 Turkish soldiers killed by PKK terror group in northern Iraq

• Turkish foreign minister’s visit to Israel ‘very important’: Spokesman

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Africa

• Al-Sunni Stresses Importance of US Role in Libyan Peace Process

• Somali foreign minister suspended over charcoal export to Oman breaking UN sanctions

• Somali prime minister suspends foreign minister

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:   https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/hacked-terrorism-deradicalisation-uyghur-xinjiang/d/127088

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Hacked Files Focused On Counter-Terrorism, And Deradicalisation Divulge China’s Persecution of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang

 

As the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, visits cities in the region, a new cache of hacked Chinese police photographs and documents has been leaked, revealing the human toll of Beijing’s treatment of its Uyghur minority in Xinjiang.

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By Saqalain Eqbal

24 May 2022

As the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, visits cities in the region, a new cache of hacked Chinese police photographs and documents has been leaked, revealing the human toll of Beijing’s treatment of its Uyghur minority in Xinjiang.

Thousands of photos of those detained are included in the files, as well as details of a shoot-to-kill policy for those who attempt to escape.

The governing Chinese Communist Party is accused of detaining over a million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the far-western province, which according to the US and western politicians is called “genocide”.

Researchers and protesters accuse Chinese authorities of pursuing a campaign of forced labour, coercive permanent contraception, massive incarceration and the destruction of Uyghur cultural heritage in Xinjiang, in addition to widespread detentions.

Chinese officials and diplomats dismiss such claims as “lies,” insisting that Beijing’s Xinjiang policy is focused on counter-terrorism, and deradicalization.

The files contained “shocking details of China’s human rights violations” against the Uyghur Muslim people, according to UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

Truss said UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet should be allowed full access to Xinjiang during her official visit to China.

The files’ source claims to have hacked, retrieved, and decrypted them from a number of Xinjiang police computer servers, which was then passed to the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.

The Chinese government’s treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang has sparked international outrage and been criticised by some Islamic governments.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/hacked-files-divulge-chinas-persecution-of-uyghur-muslims-in-xinjiang38493/

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Change Gyanvapi Mosque to Gyanvapi Temple on Google Maps: Bengaluru School Emails Alumni, Preethi Krishnamoorthy, Based In Hawaii

 

Although the management has reportedly approached the police, nothing has been registered so far. (File)

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By Sanath Prasad | Bengaluru |

May 25, 2022

After a controversy over its May 20 email to alumni asking them to change the name of Gyanvapi Mosque to Gyanvapi Temple on Google Maps, New Horizon Public School in Bengaluru has issued a clarification, saying that the email was sent “without proper screening procedures”.

“Reports of the email sent out about disrespecting certain religious sentiments have come to our notice and the issue is being handled with the highest priority. We wish to clarify that the email was sent without proper screening procedures that is required of all our email communications. We take pride in the cultural and religious diversity of India, we practice the same in the letter and spirit every day with everything we do at our school,” the school said.

Preethi Krishnamoorthy, an alumnus based in Hawaii, received the controversial email on May 20. She even took to social media to expose the school’s “shocking” conduct. “I was shocked when I received the email, not because it was sent by my school but because such an extreme email was sent by a school. A school is supposed to teach its students to think critically, so they can grow up to be reasonable individuals capable of differentiating between right and wrong based on the information presented to them. Any educational institution should be a place for free thought, unlike the email that is brainwashing the present and future generations into unthinking obedience,” she said.

The email was a part of the alumni emails that the students who have signed up for receive. According to Krishnamoorthy, the school had also sent an email during the release of ‘The Kashmir Files’. The email contained texts encouraging the alumni to watch the movie and also equated some of the incidents and characters of the movie to Mahabharata. Only 3-4 newsletters are sent to students in the course of a year. Most of the newsletters are related to the meets and events that have happened in the school.

An alumnus, who did not wish to be named, said the email on the Gyanvapi mosque controversy has disturbed her personally. “The first email on ‘The Kashmir Files’ was very weird and I found it strange that a school is promoting a movie. The second email on the mosque was very disturbing. I had stopped reading news after the controversies over azaan and halal and now this incident has disturbed me further. I have unsubscribed the newsletter. A lot of my school memories are now destroyed after this incident. I am feeling let down,” said the alumnus.

According to officials at the Kothanur police station, the school’s management claimed that a fake WhatsApp group has been created and the alleged letter is being circulated on different groups. Although the management has reportedly approached the police, no case has been registered so far.

Source: Indian Express

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

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/bengaluru-private-school-email-alumni-change-gyanvapi-mosque-gyanvapi-temple-google-maps-7934242/

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‘Appalled’ US Suspects Uyghur Abuse Approved At Beijing ‘Highest Levels’

 

"We are appalled by the reports and the jarring images," State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters. (File/AFP)

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May 24, 2022

WASHINGTON: The United States voiced horror Tuesday at new files on the incarceration of China’s Uyghur minority and said they showed that abuse was likely approved at the highest levels in Beijing.

“We are appalled by the reports and the jarring images,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

“It would be very difficult to imagine that a systemic effort to suppress, to detain, to conduct a campaign of genocide and crimes against humanity would not have the blessing — would not have the approval — of the highest levels of the PRC government,” he said, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

The United States accuses Beijing of carrying out genocide against the Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim, Turkic-speaking people in the western region of Xinjiang, where rights groups say more than one million people have been rounded up.

“We have and we continue to call on the PRC to immediately release all those arbitrarily detained people, to abolish the internment camps, to end mass detention, torture, forced sterilization, and the use of forced labor,” Price said.

Adrian Zenz, an academic who has probed the treatment of the Uyghurs, published a leak of thousands of photos and official documents that shed new light on violent methods to enforce mass internment.

The files, parts of which have been verified by multiple news organizations including the BBC and Le Monde, also provide a window into life in detention facilities.

Photos appear to show officers restraining hooded and shackled inmates with batons, while other guards wearing camouflage stand by with firearms.

The release comes just as UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet started a visit to China that was criticized by the United States, which says that she had not secured sufficient access.

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said in a tweet that Bachelet “must take a hard look at these faces and press Chinese officials for full, unfettered access — and answers.”

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2088936/world

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Islamophobia 'More Common' In Bosnia Herzegovina Than In Rest Of Europe

 

Photo: aa.com

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Talha Ozturk

24.05.2022

BELGRADE, Serbia

There is more Islamophobia in Bosnia and Herzegovina than there is in the rest of Europe, the head of a Muslim organization in the country said on Tuesday.

"Unfortunately, Islamophobia exists in our society. We may suffer it from Bosnians, Croats, or Serbs. Islamophobia, we can say, is more common in Bosnia and Herzegovina than in (other) European countries," Husein Kavazovic Kavazovic, the president of the Islamic Union group, told Anadolu Agency in an interview.

Explaining that Islamophobia is "a kind of racism," Kavazovic said this form of discrimination is still rife in the Balkan country despite Muslims and non-Muslims living together within its borders.

"Even though we see each other often, unfortunately, this is the case," he lamented, adding that most people do not expect to encounter Islamophobia in Bosnia and Herzegovina or its capital, Sarajevo.

Kavazovic argued that Islam is not fully understood in Bosnia and Herzegovina, nor, for example, the meaning of the headscarf, also known as a hijab, that many Muslim women wear.

Noting that some Muslim women are forced out of their jobs or not given work because they wear the hijab, he said this was a "ridiculous" practice by employers.

No force can bring repeat of events in 1990s

Amid rising concerns in the country of ethnic secessionism, Kavazovic said many feared that the simmering tensions would devolve into a new war.

"As a small country, we went through a very painful war," said the Muslim leader, adding, however: "When I look at the current situation, there's no force that can repeat what happened in the 1990s in Bosnia and Herzegovina."

"People who talk about stories of a possible war only make life difficult. That's why our young people and children go live abroad. But, it's still good to be careful," said Kavazovic.

The Bosnian War began on March 1, 1992 and lasted until Dec. 14, 1995.

More than 100,000 people lost their lives in the war, while around 2 million were uprooted from their homes.

The country suffered greatly during its war of independence, which included a siege of Sarajevo and the genocide of Srebrenica, Europe's worst war-time atrocity since 1945.

The siege of the capital Sarajevo began on April 5, 1992. It took 1,425 days in total and a total of 11,541 people in Sarajevo, 1,601 of whom were children, were killed.

More than 50,000 civilians were injured by about 500,000 shells dropped on the city.

An average of 329 mortar shells were fired into the city every day.

In the town of Srebrenica, about 80 kilometers east of the capital, more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed when Bosnian Serb forces attacked in July 1995, despite the presence of Dutch peacekeeping troops.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/islamophobia-more-common-in-bosnia-herzegovina-than-in-rest-of-europe/2596581

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The Taliban Sets Up a Commission to Convene a Loya Jirga for the Peace and Development of Afghanistan

 

Shahabuddin Delawar, Taliban Minister of Mines and Petroleum, announced the formation of a commission to convene a Loya Jirga.

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By Saqalain Eqbal

24 May 2022

Shahabuddin Delawar, Taliban Minister of Mines and Petroleum, announced the formation of a commission to convene a Loya Jirga.

The Taliban official did not provide a specific date for the Jirga, but stated that all Afghans, particularly influential peace figures, would be invited.

“There will be a Loya Jirga in which all Afghans will participate,” Delawar stated. “The influential Afghans who will be effective for the peace and development of Afghanistan,” he added.

So far, no information on the members of the commission or the Loya Jirga’s date has been disclosed.

The international community also emphasized reconciliation talks as a means of establishing a government that is “acceptable to all Afghans.”

According to the National Resistance Front, the Taliban have formed the Loya Jirga commission and seeking legitimacy and international recognition through this “tribal approach.”

On Monday, May 23, the front tweeted that the Taliban were on the wrong track and that the only way to restore Afghanistan’s international dignity was for the country to resist and form an election-based government.

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai had previously urged the Taliban to convene a Loya Jirga in order to gain domestic legitimacy and international recognition.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/the-taliban-sets-up-a-commission-to-convene-a-loya-jirga37648/

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Southeast Asia

 Indonesia may outlaw gay sex amid growing anti-LGBTQ sentiment

2022.05.24

Indonesia’s parliament is debating a bill that would outlaw so-called deviant sexual behavior, raising alarm among human rights activists about a possible increase in violence against LGBTQ people.

Homosexuality and extramarital sex are not outlawed in Muslim-majority Indonesia, but some among the more conservative followers of Islam here view them as vices. It is only in Aceh province where a version of Islamic law, or sharia, is in force, punishable by up to 100 lashes of the cane.

However, a contentious new bill to amend Indonesia’s criminal code contains provisions that would criminalize sex outside marriage, including homosexual acts, said Kurniasih Mufidayati, a lawmaker involved in deliberating the bill that may be passed in July.

“Yes, it’s true [there are clauses in the draft bill under which extramarital sex] is subjected to criminal punishment ... LGBT included,” she told BenarNews on Tuesday.

She also said there were clauses criminalizing “deviant sexual behavior.”

“Allowing promiscuity is against … the constitution,” she added, but declined to give details.

Bill discussion on Wednesday

Anti-LGBT sentiment has been growing in Indonesia lately.

On Monday, Indonesia summoned the United Kingdom’s envoy after the British embassy came under fire from conservative Muslim groups and politicians here for flying a rainbow flag in support of sexual minorities.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah called the embassy’s move “utterly insensitive.”

Last week, the embassy also had posted a rainbow flag photo on Instagram to mark the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, with text that said: “The U.K. will champion LGBT+ rights and support those who defend them … LGBT+ rights are fundamental human rights.

The post led to a flurry of criticism from conservative Muslim leaders and politicians, who accused the British embassy of disrespecting “Indonesian values and norms.”

Earlier this month, there was a public backlash against a popular YouTube talk show hosted by an Indonesian celebrity that featured a gay couple. The host was forced to remove the video and later apologized.

In a Twitter exchange with a conservative Muslim politician who called for action against homosexuality prompted by this episode, a minister, Mohammad Mahfud MD, said he had advocated for the inclusion of extramarital sex and same-sex relations in the criminal code since 2017.

“But you guys [lawmakers] still have not passed it. We can’t take legal action until there is a legal basis. When will it be passed? We’ll wait,” tweeted the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs.

The proposed amendments to the criminal code did not specifically mention LGBT but they called for criminal penalties against anyone engaging in same-sex activity “in certain circumstances and ways,” Mahfud MD also said. He did not elaborate.

Last week, he called on those who object to its contents to challenge it at the Constitutional Court.

On Monday, Deputy Law and Human Rights Minister Edward Hiariej said there was no mention of “LGBT” in the draft bill.

He said officials from his ministry would meet with lawmakers to discuss the bill on Wednesday.

‘Violation of human rights’

To outlaw same-sex relations would violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Indonesia has ratified, according to Johanna Purba, a researcher at the Center for Legal and Policy Studies.

“Criminaliz[ing] someone because of their sexual orientation is a violation of human rights and interferes with the right to privacy,” Johanna told BenarNews.

Dede Oetomo, an activist for gay rights, criticized Mahfud MD for advocating the outlawing of homosexual relations at a time when more countries have started to recognize the rights of sexual minorities.

Source: Benar News

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

https://www.benarnews.org/english/news/indonesian/indonesia-may-criminalize-gay-sex-05242022151220.html

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Reject Preachers Who Go Against Islamic Values of Humanity and Mercy: Singapore Muslim Leaders Urge

Hariz Baharudin

MAY 24, 2022

SINGAPORE - A group of senior Muslim religious leaders in Singapore on Tuesday (May 24) called on Muslims to reject preachers who hold views that go against Islamic and universal values of humanity and mercy.

The Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG) did not name any individuals in its statement, but shared in a Facebook post media reports on why Singapore had denied entry to Indonesian preacher Abdul Somad Batubara over his extremist teachings.

"The Religious Rehabilitation Group responds with deep embarrassment and utmost regret to a fellow preacher who appears to possess and propagate views that are opposed to accepted Islamic and universal values of humanity, mercy and unconditional love to others," said the group in a Facebook post.

"We stand strong by the Singapore Government's position that divisive and segregationist views have no place in this country."

The RRG brings together Islamic scholars and teachers who voluntarily assist in the religious counselling of radicalised individuals, including terror detainees, and inoculate the wider community against extremist views.

On Monday, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam shared that Somad had been on the authorities' radar for some time, when it emerged that some individuals investigated for radicalisation had been watching his videos and following his preachings.

Among them was a 17-year-old detained under the Internal Security Act in January 2020, who had watched Somad's YouTube lectures on suicide bombing, and began to believe such bombers were martyrs.

The minister also noted that Somad had denigrated Christian symbols, and after Somad publicised his being turned away, some of his supporters posted threats against Singapore online.

Somad has a sizeable following online, but is also a controversial figure in Indonesia, where mainstream Muslim leaders have criticised his divisive teachings.

In its statement, the RRG specifically addressed three points concerning Somad's teachings, and clarified how these are opposed to accepted Islamic and universal values.

One, by suggesting a parallel between prophetic wars and suicide bombings, he "shows a severe lack of understanding of the principles and tenets of wars in Islam".

Two, "by degrading the places, ways or instruments of worship of others, he has breached the foundational principle of interfaith relations and dialogue in Islam - respect", the RRG said.

It noted that interfaith relations are built upon similarities and appreciation of differences as a divine blessing.

Three, Muslims should reject such preachers or others with views opposed to the spirit of the shariah, or Islamic law, even if they are from within their own fold, the RRG said.

This is because they should support the truth and reject falsehoods, no matter who they originate from.

The RRG said that it regards harmonious and cohesive life in a multiracial society as a key part of living in Singapore, and called on Muslims here to value and cherish the country's peace and harmony.

"Let us preserve this stability and not let any divisive statements be a setback to the harmonious preservation of faith and humanity that we all work for," it added.

Source: Straits Times

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

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/religious-rehabilitation-group-calls-on-muslims-to-reject-preachers-with-views-that-go-against-islamic-values

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Malaysia’s support of Palestinians should be echoed by all Muslim countries: Envoy

05- 23- 2022

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s(pix) statement at the ASEAN-United States Special Summit recently is a strong message to all Muslim nations to be united in defending the oppressed Palestinian people, said Palestinian Ambassador to Malaysia Walid Abu Ali.

Calling Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member countries and Arab League as well as all nations that believe in democracy and human rights to take similar action, he said they have to use their influence to put serious pressure on Israel.

“Be united once, just to give hope to Palestinians, just to make Palestinians feel that they are backed up by their own 1.7 billion Muslim brothers and sisters around the world. It’s not enough to keep silent.

“I know the maximum we could get out of Arab and Muslim countries just condemn on the Israeli settlement. This is not enough.

“Malaysia doesn’t hesitate to do its best, but Malaysia alone can’t do it. We need other countries to do the same. There’s no reason why other countries can’t do the same,” he said in a talk show programme titled ‘Bicara Khas: Justice for Palestine’ on Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) on Sunday night.

During the ASEAN leaders’ meeting with President Joe Biden at the special summit in Washington, D.C. on May 13, Ismail Sabri urged the United States to be honest and transparent in dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Israeli atrocities must be stopped. The US must be honest in resolving the issue. If the US can take swift action in Ukraine, we want the same swift action to be taken on the Palestinian issue,” the Prime Minister said.

He stressed that the state of terrorism carried out by the Israelis against the Palestinians continued and witnessed by the international community on daily basis, but no concrete actions have been taken to stop the Israeli atrocities.

“Europe and United States of America managed to take sanctions against Russia and for what’s happening in Ukraine. Why for one time (they) can’t do the same against Israel?

“We as Palestinians are so frustrated and we believe that we have been ignored by the international community,” he said.

Noting that the stability in the Middle East could only be achieved if Palestinians get their rights, Abu Ali said Israel will never enjoy peace without putting an end to the Palestinian suffering.

Source: The Sun Daily

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

https://www.thesundaily.my/home/malaysia-s-support-of-palestinians-should-be-echoed-by-all-muslim-countries-envoy-CE9237163

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 India

 “Temple-Like Architectural Structure" Inside the Malali Juma Masjid near Mangaluru; the Mosque Was Once a Temple, Section 144 Imposed

MAY 25, 2022

The discovery of a “temple-like architectural structure" inside the Malali Juma Masjid on the outskirts of Mangaluru has prompted authorities to impose Section 144 within a 500-meter area of the mosque till 8 am of May 26.

The Hindu temple-like architectural design was discovered underneath the old mosque in Malali village on the outskirts of Mangaluru city on April 21 during the renovation work of the mosque. The matter, however, is now brewing with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) performing ritual in Malali to find out whether the mosque was once a temple.

Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said that the the district administration is monitoring everything, adding that section 144 has been imposed in the area.

The prohibitory orders came amid VHP performing ‘Tambula Prashne’ at Sri Ramanjaneya Bhajana Mandira in Malali on Wednesday.

After the structure was discovered, VHP had hinted at the possibility of a “Ram Mandir-like campaign" and vowed to continue the legal fight for the premises.

In the ritual conducted on Wednesday, the VHP claimed to have found “presence of divine Shivasanidya (divine power of lord Shiva) at the mosque premises. They claimed that the place belongs to Vasu Vadhiraj Matt and that along with lord Shiva, there are other powers too.

Source: News18

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

https://www.news18.com/news/india/section-144-malali-village-near-mangaluru-karnataka-discovery-temple-like-structure-inside-mosque-vhp-performs-ritual-near-disputed-area-5241337.html

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Varanasi's Gyanvapi Mosque: New Plea In Court From Where Case Was Moved

May 25, 2022

New Delhi: A new petition seeking a ban on the entry of Muslims to the Gyanvapi Mosque complex is likely to be taken up by a Varanasi court today.

The petition, which was filed by the Vishwa Vedic Sanatan Sangh in the court of civil judge Ravi Kumar Diwakar yesterday, also sought permission for Hindus to worship the "Shivling" purportedly found in the mosque complex

The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the transfer of the Gyanvapi mosque case from civil judge Ravi Kumar Diwakar to the district judge, Varanasi in a view complexity of matters.

The Court asked district judge A K Vishevesh to decide on priority, the issue of 'maintainability' in the case as sought by the mosque committee. The committee says that a case over the right to worship inside the mosque, and the court-ordered filming are both illegal.

The top court also said that its order asking for status quo inside the mosque complex would remain in operation pending the disposal of the mosque committee's plea, and "thereafter for a period of eight weeks so as to enable any party which is aggrieved by the order of the District Judge to pursue its rights and remedies in accordance with the law."

The court of district judge A K Vishevesh, which is now hearing the case as per the Supreme Court's directions, yesterday fixed May 26 for a hearing on the maintainability issue.

The court also gave a week's time to both Hindu and Muslim sides to file objections to the report of court-mandated filming at the mosque.

Early last week, lawyers representing Hindu petitioners claimed that a "Shivling" was found during the filming of the Gyanvapi mosque complex.

The claim was disputed by the mosque committee members who said it was part of the water fountain mechanism in the wazookhana reservoir, used by devotees to perform ritual ablutions before offering namaz. The district court had then ordered the sealing of the wazookhana.

Source: ND TV

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

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/varanasis-gyanvapi-mosque-new-plea-in-court-from-where-case-was-moved-3007058

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BJP woos Muslim faces from backward castes

25th May 2022

By Rajesh Kumar Thakur

NEW DELHI: Buoyed by the recent growth in votes from the backward castes of Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP is said to have chalked out a pan-India strategy to woo the “prominent, influential and young new faces” from these sections in every state in the run up to the next general elections.

Plans are afoot to highlight the benefits of welfare schemes launched for these segments of OBCs by the union as well as BJP states in order to engage them in the party affairs at the local level. The BJP’s think tank believes that the schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna, the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojna, free ration, the Ujjawala Yojna and others have hugely benefited the backward castes of Muslim.

A party insider said that the Uttar Pradesh poll results made the party confident that the voters from backward castes of the Muslim community had reposed trust in the leadership of PM Narendra Modi and the welfare schemes started by the BJP governments.

“We will now bring prominent and influential people and young faces of backward Muslim to the forefront in the party assigning them responsibility at local level and in governance also,” said a senior BJP leader.

Citing some recent moves in promoting Muslim leaders within the party in states like Uttar Pradesh and others, the BJP source said that Danish Azad Ansari, who belongs to backward caste of Muslim was made a minister in the Yogi Adityanath government as part of the party’s new strategy. 

Source: New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2022/may/25/bjp-woos-muslim-faces-from-backward-castes-2457609.html

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Was Pune’s Punyeshwar temple destroyed to build a Muslim shrine? Historian disagrees

Pankaj Khelkar

Pune

May 25, 2022

Following claims by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) claims that the Punyeshwar and Narayaneshwar temples in Pune were demolished to make way for dargahs, writer and historian Sanjay Sonawani has conjectured that there were no temples on the land when the Kwaaja Sheikh Sallauddin Shrine was built in the 14th century.

Speaking to India Today, Sonawani said it was around 1328 that Sheikh Saluddin Gazi Chisty, a Sufi saint, came to Devagiri along with the invader Allauddin Khilji. At that time, Khilji had already established the Delhi sultanate.

Alauddin Khilji had invaded Ramdevrai's kingdom in Devagiri area around the year 1290, he had signed a treaty signed with Ramdevrai of Devagiri. But Bhillam, the son of Ramdevrai, decided to rebel a few years later. Consequently, Alauddin Khilji sent Malik Kaffur to Devagiri to once again to invade the Yadav Kingdom. This time, Sufi saint Sheikh Saluddin Gazi Chisty came to Devagiri, and later to Pune, with Arab Sadar, the commander of Kaffur.

Devagiri was completely destroyed in the attack, but Malik Kaffur did not destroy the Grishneshwar temple, the Elora caves or the Kailash caves of Lord Shiva. This shows that Malik Kaffur respected other religions, said Sonawani.

Kaffur continued to camp in Devagiri area (present Aurangabad) for some time. Later, he ordered his commander Arab Sadar to attack Kondana (present day Sinhanad). So in 1320, Commander Arab set his camp near Punavadi village, which is modern day Pune.

Historical records say that Sheikh Sallauddin Gazi Chisty had accompanied him. It is believed that this was a regular practise by invaders to have a religious expert along with the army, to boost the troops’ morale and also give religious preachings.

It was in Punavadi that Sheikh Sallauddin Gazi Chisty had a small shrine constructed. After his demise in 1358, the shrine was converted into a dargaah, Sonawani said. Today, it is in Pune’s Kasba Peth.

Source: India Today

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https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/was-pune-punyeshwar-temple-destroyed-build-muslim-dargah-historian-disagrees-1953716-2022-05-25

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Varanasi: Vishwa Vedic Sanatan Sangh chief seeks ban on entry of Muslims into Gyanvapi premises

May 24, 2022

VARANASI: Vishwa Vedic Sanatan Sangh (VVSS) chief Jitendra Singh Visen on Tuesday filed a petition before the court of civil judge (senior division), demanding ban on entry of Muslims into the Gyanvapi compound, handing over the Gyanvapi premises to Hindus and permitting regular "puja-archana" (worshipping) of Lord Aadi Visheshwar.

He has made his wife Kiran Singh plaintiff in the matter.

According to Visen, the court has accepted the VVSS petition and fixed May 25 for hearing it.

Visen-led VVSS is backing the five women plaintiffs seeking permission for daily worship and performing rituals at Shringar Gauri, Lord Ganesh, Lord Hanuman and Nandi in the Gyanvapi premises.

Visen reached the court of civil judge to file the petition on Tuesday.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/varanasi/vishwa-vedic-sanatan-sangh-chief-seeks-ban-on-entry-of-muslims-into-gyanvapi-premises/articleshow/91773111.cms

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Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi: Copy of HC order on Shahi Idgah Mosque dispute submitted to Mathura court

24th May 2022

MATHURA: A copy of the Allahabad High Court order directing the disposal of pleas related to the Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah Mosque dispute within four months was submitted to a court here.

The Allahabad High Court on May 12 has directed the lower court concerned to decide within four months the temporary injunction application as well as a plea for bunching together the trial in all pending cases related to the dispute.

The copy of the order was submitted in the court of civil judge (senior division), a petitioner's counsel said.

The civil judge directed to present the order during next hearing on July 1, said Deepak Sharma, a counsel for petitioner Manish Yadav.

Source: New Indian Express

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https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2022/may/24/shri-krishna-janmabhoomi-copy-of-hc-order-on-shahi-idgah-mosque-dispute-submitted-to-mathura-court-2457409.html

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3 Pakistani terrorists, Jammu and Kashmir cop killed in Baramulla encounter

May 25, 2022

SRINAGAR: Three Pakistani terrorists and a Jammu and Kashmir policeman were killed in an encounter in Baramulla district on Wednesday, police said.

"Three Pakistani terrorists killed. One JKP personnel also attained martyrdom in this chance encounter. Incriminating materials including arms and ammunition recovered. Further details shall follow," inspector general of police, Kashmir zone, Vijay Kumar tweeted.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/3-pakistani-terrorists-jammu-and-kashmir-cop-killed-in-baramulla-encounter/articleshow/91782537.cms

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Witnesses: Dawood is in Pakistan, sends Rs 10 lakh per month to siblings

May 25, 2022

Mumbai: A witness in the money-laundering case against NCP minister Nawab Malik has told Enforcement Directorate that Iqbal Kaskar had told him that his older brother, fugitive terror accused Dawood Ibrahim, who is based in Pakistan, sends Rs 10 lakh to his siblings every month.

“Kaskar told me Dawood would send money through his men. He said he too would get Rs 10 lakh every month. On a couple of occasions, he showed me wads of cash and said he’d received the money from Dawoodbhai,” Khalid Usman Shaikh told ED.

Khalid’s brother, who was Kaskar’s childhood friend, was killed in a gang war. He was also known to Dawood’s sister Haseena Parkar’s driver-cum-bodyguard Salim Patel. Khalid told ED that once Patel had told him that he, along with Haseena, were extorting money using Dawood’s name and encroaching upon properties. ED alleged that Patel, along with Haseena, also illegally grabbed the Goawala compound in Mumbai’s Kurla area which they later sold to Malik’s family.

Several witnesses, including Kaskar and Haseena’s son Alishah (29), have also spoken about Dawood residing in Pakistan. “His wife’s name is Mehjabeen. He has five children. One son named Moin. All his daughters are married. His son also married,” said Kaskar, who is arrested in extortion and money-laundering cases. Kaskar added that another brother, Anees, an accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, too lives in Pakistan.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/witnesses-dawood-is-in-pakistan-sends-rs-10-lakh-per-month-to-siblings/articleshow/91776295.cms

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‘Lashkar man’ trying to recruit cadre held in Pune, hunt on for 3 others

May 25, 2022

PUNE: The Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) arrested a man from Pune’s Dapodi neighbourhood on Tuesday for his alleged links with Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives in Kashmir and for conspiring with a terrorist module to recruit members for the outfit and impart weapons training to them.

ATS is looking for three men from Kashmir linked to the arrested suspect, Mohammed Junaid alias Mohammed Ata, 28. They allegedly gave Junaid money to buy a cell phone and 10 SIM cards. Junaid has been accused of using the cell phone and SIM cards to create five Facebook accounts with different names to recruit people and train them as terrorists. Junaid from Maharashtra’s Buldhana district was working with a scrap dealer in Dapodi. A special judge sent him to ATS custody till June 3. ATS inspector Swapnil Chavan has registered an FIR against Junaid and the three others.

Special prosecutor Vilas Fargade told the court that between 2021 and April this year, Junaid became a member of a WhatsApp group in which anti-national and terrorism-linked messages were posted with an objective to incite members. He said ATS needed time to question Junaid and find out the module’s modus operandi.to recce and attack high-security installations and public places. Junaid did not engage any counsel to present his case. The court appointed lawyer Yashpal Purohit from the Pune legal services authority to defend him.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/lashkar-man-trying-to-recruit-cadre-held-in-pune-hunt-on-for-3-others/articleshow/91776370.cms

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NSA Ajit Doval to bat for inclusive Afghanistan govt at Dushanbe meet

May 25, 2022

NEW DELHI: NSA Ajit Doval will travel to Dushanbe later this week for a security conference on Afghanistan that will review the situation in the country 9 months after the Taliban took over the country, ToI has learnt. The meeting on May 26-27 is expected to address the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and also security challenges including the threat from cross-border terrorism

Doval is expected to underline India’s position that Afghanistan needs a fully inclusive government that can take care of the fundamental rights of women, children and minority communities and that it should not be allowed to turn into a safe haven for terrorism.

This will be the 4th regional security dialogue on Afghanistan. The last conference was hosted by Doval himself here on November 10. While China and India had not participated then, the conference still saw expanded presence with participation by Russia, Iran and all central Asian countries. Russia, Iran and China are expected to join the conference in Dushanbe along with central Asian countries. ToI couldn’t confirm if Pakistan was going to participate. The new government in Pakistan is yet to appoint a national security adviser.

India’s decision to host the conference in November along with its proposal to send 50,000 MT of wheat to Afghanistan through the land border with Pakistan helped India retain a toehold in the country after the situation changed dramatically in August 2021 with the return of the Taliban and the hurried departure of the US. The Taliban, in fact, have repeated thanked India for the wheat and also called upon Indian authorities to consider reopening the mission in Kabul. The Taliban, however, are said to have again clamped down on women’s rights by imposing fresh curbs on them.

Doval will also seek cooperation from his counterparts in Dushanbe in ensuring that Afghanistan is not used to carry out terror attacks in the region. This has all along been India’s main concern about Afghanistan since the return of the Taliban.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/nsa-ajit-doval-to-bat-for-inclusive-afghanistan-govt-at-dushanbe-meet/articleshow/91776176.cms

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North America

 

FBI says it thwarted Islamic State supporter’s plot to kill ex-US president Bush

By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS

24 May 2022

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Iraqi man who came to the United States two years ago and applied for asylum hatched a plot to assassinate former President George W. Bush in retaliation for casualties against his compatriots during the Iraq war, the government announced Tuesday.

Shihab Ahmed Shihab Shihab, 52, also schemed to smuggle other Iraqis into the US from Mexico to aid in the plot, after which they’d be smuggled out back through Mexico, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Columbus.

Shihab insinuated he had contacts with the Islamic State group, but it did not appear the plot came close to materializing, with confidential informants briefing the FBI from April 2021 through this month, the complaint said.

Shihab was ordered held without bond by federal Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Preston Deavers during a short hearing in court Tuesday. Deavers scheduled a detention hearing for Friday.

Shihab was not required to enter a plea. Soumyajit Dutta, a federal public defender representing Shihab at the hearing, declined to comment. If convicted, Shihab could face up to 30 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.

A message was left with the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum seeking comment.

Shihab worked at restaurants in and around Columbus and also at a market in Indianapolis where he had an apartment, the government said.

Shihab told a confidential informant that he assisted in the killing of American soldiers during the Iraq War, and said he and others “wished to kill former president Bush because they felt that he was responsible for killing many Iraqis and breaking apart the entire country of Iraq,” the complaint said.

Shihab traveled in February to Dallas, where he took video of the entrance gate to the neighborhood where Bush lives, and also traveled to Detroit in November to investigate smuggling Iraqi nationals into the US, the government said.

Shihab met a confidential informant a Columbus hotel room in March to examine weapons and US border patrol uniforms, according to the complaint. Shihab allegedly planned to use a Columbus car dealership to help transfer money from an Islamic State official into the US

Source: Times Of Israel

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https://www.timesofisrael.com/fbi-says-it-thwarted-islamic-state-supporters-plot-to-kill-ex-us-president-bush/

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US adds Hamas-linked individual, entities to sanctions list: Treasury

24 May ,2022

The US imposed sanctions on an individual who acted as a finance official for the Palestinian group Hamas, a network of three financial facilitators and six companies that generated revenue for the US-designated terrorist group, the Treasury Department said on Tuesday.

The sanctions targeted Hamas’ investment office, which holds assets estimated to be worth more than $500 million, including companies operating in Sudan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and the UAE, the Treasury said.

“Today’s action targets the individuals and companies that Hamas uses to conceal and launder funds,” said Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes Elizabeth Rosenberg while in Israel to discuss counter terrorist financing efforts.

“Hamas has generated vast sums of revenue through its secret investment portfolio while destabilizing Gaza, which is facing harsh living and economic conditions,” she added.

The sanctioned finance official is Abdallah Yusuf Faisal Sabri, a Kuwait-based Jordanian national who the Treasury describes as an “important figure in the terrorist organization since 2006, and played a role in expanding Hamas’s reach in the region.”

The three financial facilitators sanctioned are Ahmed Sharif Abdallah Odeh, a Jordanian national, was in charge of Hamas’ international investment portfolio until 2017; Usama Ali, who was a Hamas operative and maintained direct contact with senior leaders of the group; and Hisham Younis Yahia Qafisheh, a Turkey-based Jordanian national who served as Ali’s deputy and played an important role in transferring funds on behalf of various companies linked to Hamas’s investment portfolio.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/05/24/US-adds-Hamas-linked-individual-entities-to-sanctions-list-Treasury

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US urges Greece, Turkiye 'to work together to maintain peace'

Michael Hernandez  

24.05.2022

WASHINGTON

The US called on Greece and Turkiye on Tuesday "to work together to maintain peace" in the region.

State Department spokesman Ned Price called on Athens and Ankara "to resolve differences diplomatically," urging the fellow NATO allies to "avoid rhetoric that could further raise tensions."

"We know that Greece is an indispensable partner, and a key NATO ally to the United States. Similarly, Turkey is an important partner of the United States and important NATO ally," he told reporters. "We want to see our partners work together to maintain peace and security in the region."

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday wrote off Greek Premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis, saying he will no longer speak with the Greek leader, and called off a Strategic Council Meeting with Greece.

“We had agreed with (Kyriakos Mitsotakis) to not include third countries in our dispute,” Erdogan said after chairing a Cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara.

Last week, during an official US visit the Mitsotakis addressed a joint session of Congress and urged lawmakers not to sell F-16 fighter jets to Turkiye, he added.

The US will likely make up its own mind on the F-16s without needing to consult the Greek premier, Erdogan added.

US 'deeply concerned' by potential Turkish operation in northern Syria

On national security, Erdogan said Ankara will take steps to complete the remainder of a 30-kilometer (18-mile) safe zone along its southern border.

Asked about the remarks, Price said the US is "deeply concerned about reports and discussions of potential increased military activity in northern Syria, and in particular, its impacts on the civilian population there."

"We condemn any escalation. We support maintenance of the current ceasefire lines. We believe it's crucial for all sides to maintain and respect the ceasefire zones that serve to enhance stability in Syria, and to work towards a political solution to this conflict," he said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-urges-greece-turkiye-to-work-together-to-maintain-peace/2596726

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US condemns, warns Turkey against plans for military operation in Syria

24 May, 2022

The State Department on Tuesday criticized Turkey’s plans to conduct a military operation in northern Syria after the Turkish president said he wanted to create a 20-mile “safe zone” along the southern border with Syria.

“We expect Turkey to live up to the October 2019 Joint Statement, including to halt offensive operations in northeast Syria,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price said during a briefing.

Adding that the US recognized Turkey’s security concerns along its southern border, Price said any new offensive would undermine regional stability and “put at risk US forces in the Coalition’s campaign against ISIS.”

Price said the US condemned any escalation in the area and said all sides needed to respect ceasefire zones.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/05/24/US-condemns-warns-Turkey-against-plans-for-military-operation-in-Syria

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Europe

 

Six convicted for harassing French teenager over anti-Islam videos

24 May 2022

A French court has convicted six people for harassing a teenager online over her anti-Islam videos, in a case that has sparked debate about free speech and the right to insult religions.

The girl, known as Mila, was forced to change schools and accept police protection due to threats to her life after videos in which she insulted Islam went viral in January 2020 and November the same year.

The court handed sentences ranging from a three-month suspended prison term to four months with an electronic bracelet to the two men and four women, aged 19 to 39.

They were ordered to pay damages of 3,000 euros ($3,200) each to Mila.

“Their conviction was necessary,” said Mila’s lawyer Richard Malka, but added that he felt no satisfaction at seeing them sentenced.

“My only satisfaction would be if Mila were able to lead a normal life … and that is not the case,” Malka said.

In the first video, posted on Instagram in January 2020, Mila responded to personal abuse from a boy who she says insulted her about her sexuality “in the name of Allah”.

She launched into an expletive-laden rant against Islam along with other explicit comments about Allah deemed highly offensive to practising Muslims.

She published a second video with similar content in November of the same year, after the jihadist murder of French high-school teacher Samuel Paty, who had shown students controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

Mila’s lawyer says she had received more than 100,000 extremely virulent messages in response to the videos, with one person writing that Mila deserved “to have her throat cut”, while others threatened sexual assault.

In July 2021, a French court convicted 11 people for harassment and handed suspended sentences, with some ordered to pay damages of 1,500 euros.

Source: The Guardian

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

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/24/six-convicted-for-harassing-french-teenager-over-anti-islam-videos

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Social entrepreneurship project for refugees, host communities in Turkiye to start this week

Gökhan Ergöçün 

25.05.2022

The Social Entrepreneurship, Empowerment and Cohesion in Refugee and Host Communities in Turkiye Project (SEECO), aiming to support women and young people, will be launched Thursday in the southeastern Turkish province of Mardin.

Funded as part of the European Union’s Facility for Refugees in Turkiye (FRIT), the €39.5 million ($42.4 million) project will be conducted by the World Bank and the Turkish Industry and Technology Ministry's General Directorate of Development Agencies, according to a press release Tuesday by the ministry.

The two-year project will cover 11 Turkish provinces: Adana, Mersin, Gaziantep, Adiyaman, Kilis, Mardin, Hatay, Osmaniye, Kahramanmaras, Diyarbakir and Sanliurfa.

Within the scope of the project, women and young people will be trained and supported financially with up to €25,000 ($26,803).

"Inactive facilities will be renewed and 70 facilities in 11 provinces that can benefit at least 7,000 people will be restored," it added.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/social-entrepreneurship-project-for-refugees-host-communities-in-turkiye-to-start-this-week/2596825

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NATO chief acknowledges Turkiye’s concerns on Sweden, Finland's membership bids

Agnes Szucs  

24.05.2022

BRUSSELS

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg acknowledged on Tuesday the relevance of Turkiye’s concerns on Sweden and Finland's membership bids for the defense alliance, reiterating that it is an “important NATO ally.”

“I also recognize the importance of addressing the concerns that Turkey has raised,” Stoltenberg told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

He said Turkiye “is an important ally” that has played a "key role in the fight against ISIS/Daesh” and has a “strategic geographic location,” which “is important for the whole Alliance.”

Stoltenberg pointed out that “no other NATO ally has suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkey.”

“We have to sit down and find a way forward,” he said.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO last week, a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine, which began in February.

But Turkiye, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to the membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups such as the PKK/YPG. The accession requires unanimous approval from all 30 NATO member states.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/nato-chief-acknowledges-turkiye-s-concerns-on-sweden-finlands-membership-bids/2596265

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Sweden, Finland delegations in Turkey for NATO talks

May 25, 2022

ANKARA: Delegations from Sweden and Finland were scheduled on Wednesday to hold talks in Ankara with senior Turkish officials in an effort to overcome Turkey’s objections to their historic bids to join the NATO alliance.

Sweden and Finland submitted their written applications to join NATO last week in a move that marks one of the biggest geopolitical ramifications of Russia’s war in Ukraine — and which could rewrite Europe’s security map.

Turkey has said it opposes the two Nordic countries’ membership in the military alliance, citing grievances with Sweden’s — and a to a lesser extent Finland’s — perceived support to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and other entities that Turkey views as a security threat. It also accuses the two of imposing arms exports restrictions on Turkey and refusing to extradite suspected “terrorists.”

Turkey’s objections have dampened Stockholm’s and Helsinki’s hopes for their quick membership in NATO amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and puts the trans-Atlantic alliance’s credibility at stake. All 30 NATO members must agree to admit new members.

The Swedish and Finnish delegations are poised to take up Turkey’s grievances with Ibrahim Kalin, the spokesman of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal. The Swedish delegation would be headed by state secretary Oscar Stenström while Jukka Salovaara, the foreign ministry undersecretary, would lead the Finnish delegation, Turkish officials have said.

The PKK, which is listed as a terror organization by several of Turkey’s allies, has waged a decades-long insurgency against Turkey, a conflict that has cost the lives of tens of thousands people.

Turkey this week listed five “concrete assurances” it is demanding from Sweden, including what it said was “termination of political support for terrorism,” an “elimination of the source of terrorism financing,” and the “cessation of arms support” to the banned PKK and a Syrian Kurdish militia group affiliated with it. The demands also called for the lifting of arms sanctions against Turkey and global cooperation against terrorism.

Turkey said that it has been requesting the extradition of Kurdish militants and other suspects since 2017, but hasn’t received a positive response from Stockholm. Among other things, Ankara claimed that Sweden had decided to provide $376 million to support the Kurdish militants in 2023 and that it had provided military equipment to them, including anti-tank weapons and drones.

Sweden has denied that it was providing any “financial assistance or military support” to Kurdish groups or entities in Syria.

“Sweden is a major humanitarian donor to the Syria crisis through global allocations to humanitarian actors,” Foreign Minister Ann Linde told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2089221/middle-east

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South Asia

 

UN Security Council Calls on the Taliban to “Reverse” the Policies Restricting the Human Rights

By Saqalain Eqbal

25 May 2022

Members of the United Nations Security Council released a joint statement calling on the Taliban to cease policies that impede Afghan women’s and girls’ human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The United Nations Security Council released a statement on Tuesday, May 24 that specifically mentioned that Security Council is deeply concerned regarding the Taliban’s “restrictions on education, employment, freedom of movement, and the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women in public life.”

The UN Security Council’s statement comes just days after the Taliban ordered female Afghan television presenters to cover their faces when performing on air.

The Taliban order is the group’s most recent action against civil society activists, with many Taliban directives targeting women and girls.

The Security Council called on the Taliban to “swiftly reverse” their policies restricting human rights and women’s and girls’ freedoms.

The UN Security Council has also expressed “deep concern” and called on the Taliban to reopen the schools for all female students “without further delay”.

Discussions on the draft of the statement took two weeks, according to diplomats, since China and Russia disagreed to the focus on human rights in Afghanistan.

As a result, Security Council members included a paragraph to the statement, expressing their concerns over the humanitarian, political, economic, social, and security situation in Afghanistan.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/un-security-council-calls-on-the-taliban-to-reverse-the-policies-restricting-the-human-rights37494/

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The Taliban Signs the Agreement With UAE to Cooperate on Airport Operations

By Saqalain Eqbal

24 May 2022

The Taliban and the United Arab Emirates signed an agreement for the management of four Afghan airports. The management of Kabul, Kandahar, Mazar-e-Sharif, and Herat airports is officially handed over to the United Arab Emirates.

In the presence of Razzaq Aslam, representative of GAC, UAE, and Hamidullah Akhundzada, acting Minister of the Taliban Ministry of Transport and Aviation, the agreement was signed today, Tuesday.

Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar made the announcement on Twitter following months of talks with the UAE, Turkey, and Qatar to establish an agreement on airport security cooperation.

After the country was thrown into disarray last year when the Taliban took control and foreign forces withdrew, Qatar and Turkey dispatched temporary technical teams to assist in airport operations and security.

The Taliban’s deputy prime minister, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, recently instructed the Taliban’s Foreign Ministry officials to set a schedule for the new contract for the management of Afghanistan’s airports.

Source: Khaama Press

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https://www.khaama.com/the-taliban-signs-the-agreement-with-uae-to-cooperate-on-airport-operations37493/

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Boat carrying Rohingya fleeing Myanmar capsizes, killing 16

May 24, 2022

BANGKOK: At least 16 people from Myanmar’s Rohingya minority have died after a storm capsized the boat they were traveling on to seek refuge in another country, officials and a recovery team member said Tuesday.

There were 35 survivors of Saturday’s accident that took place Saturday off Myanmar’s southwestern coast and four people were missing, the officials said.

UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, expressed shock and sadness about the accident in a statement and said at least 17 Rohingya, including children, had died.

The boat left the western state of Rakhine last Thursday and encountered bad weather two days later off Ayeyarwaddy Region on Myanmar’s southwestern coast, causing it to capsize, the statement said.

The Rohingya, a Muslim minority, have long been persecuted in Myanmar. More than 700,000 Rohingya have fled the country to neighboring Bangladesh since August 2017 to escape the brutal counterinsurgency campaign of Myanmar’s military following an attack by a Rohingya insurgent group in Rakhine State.

Myanmar’s government has denied accusations that security forces committed mass rapes and killings and burned thousands of homes, but the US government recently labeled actions by the country’s military as genocide.

There are more than 100,000 Rohingya left in Myanmar, confined in squalid displacement camps, along with those living in crowded refugee camps in Bangladesh.

Groups of Rohingya from camps in both countries embark on hazardous voyages to the Muslim-majority countries of Malaysia and Indonesia to seek a better living.

“Some 630 Rohingya have attempted sea journeys across the Bay of Bengal from January to May 2022,” the UNHCR statement said, with women and children making up 60 percent of those trying to flee.

The statement added: “The risk of abuse at the hands of smugglers and the peril of the sea journey itself are both exacerbated during prolonged journeys, when a safe harbor for disembarkation cannot be found.”

An Ayeyarwaddy Region resident said the 16 bodies, including those of two young boys, were recovered near Pathein township, about 300 kilometers (180 miles) west of Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city. He spoke on condition of anonymity because Myanmar’s military government seeks to tightly control the flow of information.

A local official, who also requested anonymity for the same reason, said most of the 50 people on board the boat were men under 30 years old. He said the bodies were buried and that the 35 survivors were taken away by the security forces.

Maung Maung Than, a spokesperson for the Ayeyarwaddy Region government, confirmed that the accident happened but did not give further details.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2088881/world

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Pakistan

 

Pak-Afghan People Bound In Religious, Social Ties: Minister Religious Affairs

Fahad Shabbir

May 24, 2022

ISLAMABAD, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 24th May, 2022): German Special Representative for Pak-Afghan Affairs Dr Jasper Wieck along with German Ambassador Bernhard Schlagheck on Tuesday called on Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Minister Mufti Abdul Shakoor in his office.

They discussed various issues including Pak-Afghan economic and social situation besides peace and development of the region in detail.

Mufti said Pak-Afghan people were bound in religious, social and cultural ties and their future was intertwined.

He said Pakistan had always made serious efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan.

He said Islam was a religion of broad-minded approach as there were no restrictions on women's education and employment. Women had more rights rather than responsibilities in Islam, he added.

The religious affairs minister said the world had a wrong perception about Taliban as they gave more importance to the prestige of women than their higher education.

He said Afghanistan itself was a victim of terrorism. If the situation improved, it would definitely bring women into the national mainstream. To understand the problems of Afghanistan, we needed to know the nature of this society, he added.

He said for the sake of humanity, no country should step back from the help of Afghan people in the world.

He said Germany could mobilize modern world to fight Islamophobia adding Muslims were victims of terrorism and genocide in Kashmir, India, Palestine and Burma.

Dr Jasper said Germany had invested 800 million Euro in Afghanistan's reconstruction and development.

Source: Urdu Point

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https://www.urdupoint.com/en/pakistan/pak-afghan-people-bound-in-religious-social-1515536.html

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Imran Khan's Azadi March: PTI members arrested, Islamabad sealed

May 25, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Ahead of former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan's Azadi March scheduled on Wednesday, police arrested key members of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and cut off the capital Islamabad under the direction of the Shehbaz Sharif government.

The Pakistan police raided the houses of the PTI leaders and workers. PTI leader, Mian Mehmood-ur- Rasheed was arrested after the police made a late-night raid under section 16 of the Maintenance of the Public Order (MPO), reported Geo News.

The government rounded up over 1,000 PTI leaders and workers in a crackdown designed to derail the party's plans for a massive power show in Islamabad.

Section 144 was imposed in Lahore, the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad and Karachi, as well as other major cities in the country, while the Punjab government sought the deployment of Rangers to control the law and order situation.

The federal capital has been sealed from the rest of the country as all entry and exit points leading towards Islamabad were closed down with the heavy deployment of police and containers. Officers in the capital have stated that the government has agreed on two plans, either allowing the PTI marchers to enter Islamabad or intercepting them at entry points, reported Dawn newspaper.

The Pakistan officers had planned to take the ousted Pakistan Prime Minister into custody last Friday. A well-equipped contingent of the capital police also reached Banigala to make his arrest. However, Imran Khan was in Multan in lieu of the public rally, which rendered the mission unsuccessful.

According to the first plan, although the PTI marchers would be permitted to enter Islamabad, they would be forbidden to cross Zero-Point. On the hand, the next plan will be implemented if the government decides to forbid the entry of the PTI leaders. In that case, all the entry points will be sealed and the marchers would be intercepted on Attock and Jhelum bridges.

Meanwhile, 500 containers were given to the Pakistan police and 300 are deployed to seal the Red Zone. Further, the government has also decided to cancel leaves for the Capital police, except for emergencies, reported Dawn newspaper as cited by the officers.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan announced that his party's long protest march to Islamabad will begin on May 25 demanding the dissolution of the national assembly and a date for the next general election and invited people to join in large numbers.

The former prime minister said the main demands for the march to the capital were the immediate dissolution of the national assembly and a date for the next general election.

Imran Khan also told the military to stick to its stated stance of being "neutral".

"The foreign conspiracy against Pakistan was hatched eight months ago and I was alerted about it in June, and after August, I fully understood what was happening. We did our best that somehow this conspiracy could be voided but unfortunately we couldn't stop it," Khan said.

The PTI chairman explained in detail his allegations of conspiracy as well as the purpose of his march before announcing the date.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/imran-khans-azadi-march-pti-members-arrested-islamabad-sealed/articleshow/91780842.cms

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Parvez supports PTI’s long march, Tahirul Qadri stays away

Amjad Mahmood

May 25, 2022

LAHORE: ‘Revolting’ against its federal chapter, the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid Punjab leadership has announced its support for the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s long march whereas Pakistan Awami Tehreek of Dr Tahirul Qadri has distanced itself from the protest.

While two PML-Q MNAs Chaudhry Shujaat’s son Salik Hussain and Tariq Bashir Cheema are members of the federal cabinet and as central president Shujaat has not extended his party’s support for the march, Punjab Assembly Speaker Parvez Elahi directed ‘Q’ workers to be part of the PTI “independence march” on Tuesday. He claims the march is meant for strengthening the country, its economy and democracy.

Addressing a press conference, he condemns police raids on the residences of PTI leaders and workers and their arrests in the run-up to the march, and threatens that every government official will be held accountable. He asks the chief secretary and administration not to harass workers as public sentiment cannot be restrained with the closure of transport and roads. He says the workers will reach Islamabad in any case.

He says as a custodian of the Punjab Assembly, it is his duty to protect fundamental rights of the members of the provincial house and video clips of the raids on their houses will be presented in the assembly as well as courts as evidence of violation of fundamental rights.

The Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) has distanced itself from the march. Both the parties had earlier taken out a joint long march on Islamabad back in 2014 and staged a sit-in there in a bid to seek justice in Model Town police raid case in which 14 activists of PAT had been killed.

The PAT had ended the sit-in after 70 days but the PTI continued it for 126 days and terminated it only after a terrorist attack on the Peshawar Army Public School in December 2014.

Dr Qadri has been critical of Imran Khan for not doing anything worthwhile for the Model Town victims during PTI’s over three and a half years’ rule in the country.

Nurullah Siddiqui, a spokesperson for Dr Qadri, says the PTI had done nothing for the Model Town case victims and had not taken the party into confidence on the May 25 long march. Therefore, he says, the PAT will not consider extending its support to Imran Khan.

March to go ahead: Shafqat

After cancelling press conferences twice on Tuesday to avoid arrest, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf provincial chief Shafqat Mahmood released a video message telling the workers that the march for democracy would go on as planned.

“Since the government has already blocked motorway connecting Lahore and Islamabad, the march would take GT Road route, but it would certainly reach Islamabad to join its leader Imran Khan,” Shafqat said in the message.

For the last 24 hours, police have raided homes of more than 1,100 workers and leaders across Punjab. It scaled boundary walls in the dead of night, invaded homes and trampled privacy of people to pick up leaders and PTI workers. Three MNAs have been rounded up. But, nothing will deter the workers. “They all would gather at 7am at a point, to be conveyed later in the night, to start their march on the capital. It will go on come what may,” he asserted.

The PTI has constitutional right to peaceful protest and it had planned it as such. “Why did the government panic? However, despite arrests and panic, the march will go on, as planned,” Shafqat told his viewers and workers.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1691339/parvez-supports-ptis-long-march-tahirul-qadri-stays-away

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Default threat reaches Pakistan in deepening political crisis

May 25, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Soaring inflation. Squabbles over fuel prices. A fractious political environment. For months, Pakistan has struggled to keep its economy afloat, raising the prospect that one of the world’s most populous nations could soon follow Sri Lanka in a wave of potential global defaults.

Investors are getting nervous. Without a bailout from the International Monetary Fund, Pakistan may default for the second time in its history. As talks with the IMF conclude Wednesday in Doha, officials acknowledge that winning a loan from the multilateral lender might involve trade-offs, including the politically tough decision of raising fuel prices.

“We are confident we’ll get to the finish line,” Murtaza Syed, acting governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Tuesday.

The negotiations come at a time when citizens are battling Asia’s second-fastest inflation and ousted premier Imran Khan is poised to occupy the nation’s capital with his supporters to force early elections. With a barrage of financial shocks caused by the pandemic, Russia’s war in Ukraine, and rising interest rates, Pakistan is one of several emerging economies facing debt restructuring.

Pakistan is seeking the release of $3 billion from the IMF. That amount would augment the nation’s foreign-exchange reserves, which at $10.2 billion cover less than two months of imports. The government is staring at a $45 billion trade deficit this year. Last week, international bonds due 2031 fell to a record-low.

“Pakistan is in a tight situation,” said Lars Jakob Krabbe, portfolio manager for Frontier Markets fixed income at Coeli Frontier Markets AB in Stockholm.

Fighting between the government and former Prime Minister Khan has complicated a path forward with the IMF. In recent weeks, Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, has pushed for elections a year earlier than planned in a bid to recapture power. And Khan called on his supporters to hold protests Wednesday in Islamabad.

The city is bracing for unrest. Police have placed barricades in front of the so-called Red Zone, a neighborhood with key government buildings, including Parliament, embassies and the prime minister’s offices. The government has said demonstrations won’t be allowed, raising concerns that more mayhem and social unrest could follow.

A sticking point for the IMF connects to Khan’s tenure. Before leaving office in April, he reduced fuel and gasoline prices and then froze them for four months, a last-ditch attempt to improve his image among voters and quell frustration over rising costs.

But the IMF has delayed giving Pakistan more money until the government scraps the fuel subsidies. And Khan’s successor, Shehbaz Sharif, has deferred raising prices despite the subsidies costing $600 million a month. The government has resisted angering a population already struggling to afford staples like wheat and sugar.

“Three weeks ago, I would have said there’s a 0% chance of Pakistan becoming the next Sri Lanka,” said Mattias Martinsson, chief investment officer of Tundra Fonder AB in Stockholm. “The inaction of the new government is, however, worrying.”

For now, at least, Pakistani officials say they are confident of finding a middle ground with the IMF, even if the subsidies remain.

In the Bloomberg TV interview, Syed said “gaps are being closed.” He expressed optimism that IMF money would enable the country to easily fill funding holes until the end of the next fiscal year. Apart from reviving a rescue package from 2019, Pakistan is asking for an additional $2 billion from the IMF.

Edwin Gutierrez, London-based head of emerging-market sovereign debt at abrdn plc, which owns Pakistan’s bonds, said the company is comfortable with some volatility and doesn’t plan to sell its holdings.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/default-threat-reaches-pakistan-in-deepening-political-crisis/articleshow/91778961.cms

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Pakistan bans ousted PM Khan's protest march after policeman killed

May 24, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's government on Tuesday banned a planned protest march by ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is demanding fresh elections as a political and economic crises deepens in the South Asian nation, officials said.

The ban was announced by interior minister Rana Sanaullah at a news briefing hours after a policeman was shot and killed during a crackdown on Khan's supporters across the country.

An official of Khan's party had shot and killed the policeman when police visited his house, information minister Marriyum Aurangzeb told a news briefing, adding that the accused and his father had been arrested.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's government on Tuesday banned a planned protest march by ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is demanding fresh elections as a political and economic crises deepens in the South Asian nation, officials said.

The ban was announced by interior minister Rana Sanaullah at a news briefing hours after a policeman was shot and killed during a crackdown on Khan's supporters across the country.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-bans-ousted-pm-khans-protest-march-after-policeman-killed/articleshow/91771011.cms

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Gwadar anti-terrorism court grants bail to terror suspect

Behram Baloch

May 24, 2022

GWADAR: An anti-terrorism court, headed by judge Abdul Samad Mengal, accepted the bail application of Noor Jahan Baloch and ordered her release on bail on Monday.

Senior lawyer Jarden Dashti and former advocate general for Balochistan Nazimuddin had filed the bail application contending that all allegations levelled by the CTD officials against Noor Jahan were fabricated and wrong.

Ms Baloch was arrested by the CTD during a raid at her house in Hoshab town last week on a charge of planning a suicide attack on a convoy of foreigners on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Highway near Hoshab.

The CTD officials had claimed to have recovered a suicide jacket and explosives from her house during the raid.

The court, after hearing the bail application, had reserved its judgement on Saturday.

A protest sit-in started immediately by the people in Hoshab, including activists of political parties and members of civil society, after the arrest of Ms Baloch, was called off following her release on bail on Monday.

The protest sit-in had kept the CPEC Highway blocked for a week, causing suspension of all kinds of vehicular traffic on the highway.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1691240/gwadar-anti-terrorism-court-grants-bail-to-terror-suspect

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Arab World

 

Iraq's political stalemate raising chances of Shia on Shia clashes

By Suadad al-Salhy

24 May 2022

After months of frustration and impasse, relations between Muqtada al-Sadr and his Iran-backed Shia rivals have deteriorated so badly that Iraqi Shia leaders are predicting armed clashes could even be on the cards.

Sadr, an influential Shia cleric with a fiercely loyal following, emerged from Iraq’s October parliamentary elections as the clear winner. But his victory was quickly followed by a series of defeats that have stopped him and his allies forming a government.

Shia factions close to Iran were set to be frozen out of government, with Sadr allying with the Sunni bloc and Kurdish KDP. But a Federal Supreme Court ruling over the quorum needed for the government-formation process has meant Sadr has been unable to swear in his choice of president and prime minister due to his rivals boycotting parliament.

The cleric then settled on sticking with the current government led by Mustafa al-Kadhimi, only for the federal court to again rule against him, saying Kadhimi’s cabinet was just operating in a caretaker role and could not make the important decisions necessary to keep Iraq going.

That decision unleashed an anger in Sadr not seen by his rivals since government-formation negotiations began. It prompted him to publicly denounce the judiciary, accusing it of "going along" with the "disgraceful" actions of the "blocking third" of MPs boycotting parliament.

In a broadcast last week, Sadr claimed the “blocking third” had obstructed government formation because they "do not exist without authority". He promised not to abandon his project, which would see two decades of rule-by-consensus ripped up for a majority government excluding the Iranian-backed parties.

Sadr warned his opponents of his anger and impatience. “Do you think that your actions will force us to ally with you?” he asked.

"No, a thousand nos. We will not return Iraq to quotas, corruption and abhorrent consensus."

Angering Iran's allies

The three-minute-long speech frightened many Iraqis and provoked Sadr's opponents, particularly the leaders of the armed Shia factions. What followed made it worse.

Any ambiguity about Sadr’s intentions was soon dispelled by Abu Mustafa al-Hamidawi, head of Sadr’s armed wing Saraya al-Salam, who tweeted afterwards: “We are ready, so wait for us."

Hundreds of Saraya al-Salam fighters then paraded in Sadr City, an impoverished east Baghdad neighbourhood that is the Sadrist stronghold, declaring their readiness to carry out the orders of their leader.

Meanwhile, media platforms affiliated with Sadr began publishing names of leaders of Asaib Ahl al-Haq and the Kataeb Hezbollah, the fiercest and most influential Shia armed factions. Their names were accompanied by their addresses, headquarters and photos, as well as threatening and intimidating expressions.

In response, the leaders of the Shia forces, including the armed factions, monitored the developments and readied all their fighters, ordering them to exercise maximum restraint, Shia leaders familiar with the developments told MEE.

Hours later, on 16 May, the leaders of the Coordination Framework Shia alliance met at the home of former prime minister Haider al-Abadi in Baghdad to decide how they would respond to Sadr's threats.

The meeting, which lasted until the early hours of the next morning, resulted in a written statement, criticising Sadr for “questioning” and “challenging” the decisions of the Federal Court, which it described as a “dangerous development that establishes chaos and instability”.

It called on Sadr and his allies to abandon their plans for a majority government and "give priority to the national interest, abandon the policy of acquisition and monopolising power, and deal positively with initiatives”.

What the statement didn’t convey, however, was that the Coordination Framework leaders were “very provoked” by the Sadrist moves, and changed the wording several times to soften and dial down the anger and language, two people at the meeting told MEE.

"Everyone was angry and provoked, especially the leaders of the armed factions. Sadr went too far this time," one said.

According to the source, former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, the most prominent political leader in the Coordination Framework alliance, refused to be drawn into exchanging threats with Sadr “and pressed a lot to change the content of the statement and its wording several times”.

"We didn't want to precipitate the collision that was imminent," the source said.

Nominating the PM

The relationship between Sadr and the Iranian-backed armed Shia factions, especially Kataeb Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq, is tense. The scramble between the three for influence and benefits is at its highest level in years.

The situation has worsened further since the October elections, in which Sadr won 74 seats, while the armed factions suffered severe losses, gaining only 17 MPs.

Worried they could be completely marginalised, the leaders of the armed factions allied with Maliki and some independents and small parliamentary blocs, creating a Shia parliamentary alliance of 83 MPs - just two fewer than the bloc Sadr had brought together.

Under Iraq’s constitution, the prime minister can be named only by the biggest parliamentary bloc. But under the power-sharing political system adopted by Iraqi forces since 2003, the premiership is a post that is always filled by a member of the Shia community. 

To undermine Sadr’s supremacy in parliament, the Shia forces have begun insisting that rather than the largest parliamentary bloc having the right to nominate the next prime minister, it should be the largest Shia bloc - Maliki’s.

To counter this, Sadr has tried to build a larger Shia bloc by courting independents and smaller Shia parties, even offering them the position of prime minister on the condition that they form a bloc of 40 MPs and join his alliance. He was not successful.

Three options

Aware of the success they achieved in undermining Sadr's parliamentary supremacy, but also the dilemma that Sadr is currently facing, the leaders of the Iranian-backed armed factions decided in the meeting in Abadi’s home to adopt a new strategy.

According to one leader of a Shia armed faction, who is also a member of the Coordination Framework, the strategy of containing Sadr has to end because it pushed him too far.

“He thinks that we are afraid of confronting him, and that he can get away with whatever he or his group does. He is completely wrong,” the leader said.

"We were very patient with him, but he translated our patience into fear or weakness. This stage is over and he will see another face in the coming days."

The Baghdad meeting also agreed that three options will be put to Sadr, two people there told MEE.

The first option is an alliance with the Coordination Framework to form a power-sharing consensus government that will last for one year only. If it fails, the majority government that Sadr wants will be formed.

The second option is to dissolve parliament and call for new elections. The third would be to keep the situation as it is, but any attempts by Sadr or his allies to make any governmental or legislative changes that could alter the current balance of power “would be met by all available means”.

"Our biggest fear all the time was that a Shia-Shia fight would break out, so we were turning a blind eye to his threats and the violations of his people,” a prominent commander of a Shia armed faction told MEE.

"We are not afraid of any kind of confrontation now. If he speaks in the language of threat, we will speak in the same language, and if he goes further than this and chooses armed confrontation, we do not mind,” he added.

Source: Middle East Eye

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

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/iraq-political-stalemate-raising-chances-shia-clashes

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Egypt approves flights from Houthi-held Yemen capital: Government

24 May, 2022

Egypt has approved direct flights between Yemen’s Houthi-controlled capital and Cairo, the Yemeni government said Tuesday, in the latest sign of progress in the war-torn country.

The green light comes after the first commercial flight in six years flew from Sanaa to Amman in Jordan last week, as part of a UN-brokered truce between Yemen’s internationally recognized government and the Iran-backed Houthi militia.

“We express our deep thanks to the brotherly Egyptian government... for agreeing to operate direct flights between Sanaa and Cairo in accordance with the armistice agreement,” Yemeni Foreign Minister Ahmed bin Mubarak wrote on Twitter.

“The competent authorities in the two countries will work in the coming days to coordinate and complete the technical procedures for operating the flights,” he added.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres called Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to express his “sincere thanks... for allowing direct flights between Cairo and Sanaa within the framework of the UN armistice in Yemen,” an Egyptian foreign ministry statement said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/05/24/Egypt-approves-flights-from-Houthi-held-Yemen-capital-Government

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Lebanon currency hits new low after vote, crisis deepens

24 May, 2022

Lebanon’s currency hit a new low Tuesday as deep divisions within the newly elected parliament raised concerns that political paralysis could further exacerbate one of the worst economic meltdowns in history.

The legislature elected May 15 showed no clear majority for any group and a fragmented and polarized parliament divided between pro- and anti-Hezbollah lawmakers. The sides will likely find it difficult to work together to form a new government and enact desperately needed reforms.

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

Among those elected to the 128-member parliament were 13 independents. They took part in the protest movement against Lebanon’s entrenched political class blamed for the crisis rooted in decades of corruption and mismanagement.

This sets up a potential clash in parliament between the two camps, raising concerns of a protracted deadlock to form a new Cabinet desperately needed to resume negotiations with the International Monetary Fund over a bailout program.

On Tuesday afternoon, the dollar was selling at 34,000 pounds on the black market, surpassing the 33,000 pounds to the dollar recorded in January. The Lebanese currency was pegged at 1,500 pounds to the dollar for 22 years until the crisis erupted in in October 2019.

Since then, more than 80 percent of the population has been plunge into poverty, suffering acute shortages in electricity, medicine and other necessities as central bank reserves dry up. The crisis has also triggered the biggest wave of emigration since the 1975-90 civil war.

On Friday, Lebanon’s outgoing government approved a recovery plan for pulling the Mideast nation out of its economic meltdown. The development came during the Cabinet’s last official meeting before it becomes a caretaker government following the elections. The plan is a key IMF demand.

Outgoing Prime Minister Najib Mikati told reporters last week that the plan aims to protect small depositors while plans for protecting large depositors will be negotiated with the IMF. He offered no figures but had in the past said that small depositors are those with $100,000 or less.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/05/24/Lebanon-currency-hits-new-low-after-vote-crisis-deepens

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Three Turkish soldiers killed in Iraq: Defence ministry

24 May, 2022

Three Turkish soldiers serving in northern Iraq as part of operations against Kurdish militants were killed Tuesday, the defense ministry announced.

Another four soldiers were wounded during fighting, said the ministry statement, which did not say where the clash took place.

Turkey’s official news agency Anadolu said the Turkish soldiers had clashed with fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara and its western allies say is a terrorist organization.

The PKK has training camps and bases in autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan and has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, a conflict that has killed 40,000 people, many of them civilians.

Ankara has launched a series of operations against PKK fighters in Iraq and Syria, the latest one in northern Iraq beginning in April.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that Turkey would soon launch a new military operation into northern Syria which he said was designed to create a 30-kilometre (19-mile) “security zone” along https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/05/24/Iraqi-officials-Attacks-by-ISIS-militants-kill-12-civilianstheir border.

Since 2016, Turkey has also launched three offensives into northern Syria against the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a Syrian-Kurdish group it considers to be part of the PKK.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/05/24/Three-Turkish-soldiers-killed-in-Iraq-Defense-ministry

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Iraqi officials: Attacks by ISIS militants kill 12 civilians

24 May ,2022

Militants from ISIS killed 12 civilians and wounded at least six in two separate attacks in Iraq, apparently taking advantage of a sandstorm that sharply reduced visibility across the country, security officials said Tuesday.

The attacks occurred on Monday evening in Kirkuk and Diyala provinces, where farmers came under fire while harvesting their crops.

The Iraqi Security Media Cell said in a statement that six civilians were killed in the attack in the village of Sami Asi, south of the city of Kirkuk.

The Kurdish news network Rudaw said after the killings, an Iraqi federal police force that arrived on the scene was ambushed and three policemen were killed.

Earlier, ISIS launched an attack in Diyala’s town of Gulala, killing six residents, two Iraqi security officials said.

The Sunni extremist group claimed responsibility late Monday for the Kirkuk attack, claiming it killed five Shias in their agricultural fields in al-Rashad area in Kirkuk and set fire to five vehicles.

It said its fighters clashed with a supporting unit from the federal police and destroyed one of their vehicles.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/05/24/Iraqi-officials-Attacks-by-ISIS-militants-kill-12-civilians

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PKK terror group targets TV station building with rockets in Iraq's Duhok city

24.05.2022

DUHOK, Iraq

The PKK terror group carried out a rocket attack Tuesday on a television station’s building in Duhok, in Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

There was property damage because of the attack.

The Duhok-based Hani Press and Communication Center' said a building owned by Duhok Radio and Television Media Group was targeted with rockets by the terror group.

"We condemn this terrorist attack. The PKK must leave the Kurdistan region. The PKK should know that media centers are an indicator of civilization. These attacks and threats will not put pressure on anyone," it said.

The Media Group is known for its closeness to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) led by Massoud Barzani.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/pkk-terror-group-targets-tv-station-building-with-rockets-in-iraqs-duhok-city/2596764

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Egypt's National Dialogue unlikely to include Muslim Brotherhood

May 24, 2022

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's call for a political dialogue with his opponents in the country renewed talks about the future of the Muslim Brotherhood and the possibility of the group’s reintegration into political life. This comes nine years after sweeping nationwide protests that ousted the Muslim Brotherhood from power.

The Muslim Brotherhood has been battling unprecedented internal division and rift since its ouster from the rule of Egypt in July 2013. Ever since, the group has been searching for a foothold that guarantees the security of its members and the continuity of its activities amid the restrictions imposed on it in Egypt, where most of its top-level leaders are in prisons and face conclusive death penalties.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood has also been increasingly wary of the noticeable improvement in Egyptian relations with countries that once strongly supported them. Since January, ties between Egypt and Qatar have been steadily improving.

For its part, Turkey is expressing a pressing desire to mend its ties with Egypt as part of its efforts to break its regional isolation. For this purpose, Ankara seems to be inclined to put an end to the support it had once lent to the members of the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters over the past years.

Qatar and Turkey hosted hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters who sought asylum in their territories since the overthrow of former President Mohammed Morsi in Egypt. Ankara was for years seen as the regional hub for the Muslim Brotherhood. Turkey is a host for television channels opposed to Sisi and a haven for most of the Brotherhood's leaders — most of whom are on terrorist lists in Egypt.

Commenting on the possibility for a dialogue with the Egytian government a few days following Sisi’s call, prominent Muslim Brotherhood leader and the group’s former international political foreign emissary Youssef Nada said in statements relayed by media outlets in early May that the Brotherhood is ready to turn the page on the past after “repaying the injustices.”

However, the Muslim Brotherhood's Change Movement — the most hard-line wing within the group — rejected the dialogue with the Egyptian authorities, describing Sisi's call as a “farce.”

Of note, the Change Movement in the Muslim Brotherhood arose in the wake of profound administrative and organizational disputes that engulfed the group following Morsi’s overthrow in 2013. The group’s members were not satisfied with its leaders and some of its positions. Subsequently, the movement formed its own administrative structure, but the mother group has yet to recognize it.

However, it seems that the chances of the Muslim Brotherhood of participating in any political dialogue to be held are off the table. After calling for a political dialogue in the country, Sisi lashed out at the Muslim Brotherhood, albeit with less intensity than before.

At an event held to mark Eid al-Fitr in Cairo on May 2, Sisi said that the Muslim Brotherhood has repeatedly threatened to target the army forces and sow chaos in the country. He mentioned that the Brotherhood’s Deputy Supreme Guide Khairat el-Shater even threatened him personally when the group ruled the country.

Shater is currently in prison for several cases, including on charges of spying for foreign parties.

Sisi said on the sidelines of an iftar banquet on April 26 that the Muslim Brotherhood directly threatened the Egyptian people and the state during their rule (2012-2013), stressing that the group was not ready back then to run the country.

Sisi served as defense minister during the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. He led the army that ousted Morsi in the wake of popular protests against his rule in 2013 — one year after the group came to power in the first elections in Egypt in the aftermath of the 2011 uprising.

Since then, Sisi has led a massive crackdown on the leaders of the Brotherhood, which Egypt considers a terrorist group, and prosecuted those found to be affiliated with it. Most of the group's senior leaders are currently in Egyptian prisons or have fled the country.

Since the end of 2013, Egypt has classified the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, banned its activities, and frozen its assets and the assets of a number of its affiliates. Egypt accuses the group of being behind many terrorist attacks in which police, army and civilians were killed over the past years.

Sisi’s attacks coincided with the broadcast of a television series chronicling the period of the Brotherhood's rule in Egypt and highlighting the country’s suffering and political tension during this period, which eventually led to mass protests that ousted the group after only a year in power.

Season three of the series "Al-Ikhtiyar 3" ("The Choice 3") aired during the month of Ramadan when television viewership rates are high.

The 30-episode series tells the story of Sisi’s role during the Muslim Brotherhood era, up until the ouster of the group and his ascending to power in subsequent elections in 2014.

In his April 27 speech, Sisi praised the actors in the series, saying the series “tells exactly what happened at the time.”

This comes as authorities prepare to launch a national dialogue with opposition forces for the first time since Sisi took power in the summer of 2014. Sisi had made the call during the iftar banquet to hold talks with all political forces “without exception or discrimination.”

No details have been made public so far about the parties to attend the dialogue or its schedule.

However, observers believe that the Egyptian government is seeking, through this dialogue, to build cooperation bridges with the opposition at a time when the country is working to address a devastating economic crisis sparked by the Russia-Ukraine war.

Sisi also urged the participating parties to submit their recommendations to him, promising to attend the final phases of the dialogue.

In an article published in Shorouk newspaper on May 8, Egyptian writer Abdullah al-Sanawi explained that Brotherhood leader Nada's statement — in which he left the door open to the possibility of participating in the dialogue — aimed to test the water to explore whether Sisi's invitation to dialogue could present an opportunity for reintegrating the group into political life.

However, Sanawi ruled out an invitation by the Egyptian authorities to the Brotherhood representatives to the dialogue. “Dialogue between the government and the Brotherhood is not probable, and deals are impossible, he said.

On more than one occasion, Sisi voiced his opposition to the idea of reconciliation with the Muslim Brotherhood or for the group to have any role in the Egyptian political scene during his time in power, stressing that the people of Egypt will not accept their return to political life again.

Meanwhile, some Egyptian parliament members refused to invite the Muslim Brotherhood to any political dialogue. They said that those who have blood on their hands or have been implicated in terrorist crimes cannot be invited to such a national dialogue.

Ammar Ali Hassan, a researcher in political sociology, told Al-Monitor that that the proposed dialogue between the opposition and the authorities should discuss giving the public space for freedom of opinion and expression, releasing political detainees and lifting restrictions on the work of civil society.

Egyptian authorities released on April 24 dozens of detainees, including several prominent authors and activists who had been held in pre-trial detention for years. The move was seen as a goodwill gesture to begin a serious dialogue with the opposition.

In his April 26 speech, Sisi expressed happiness at the prisoners’ release, saying, “The homeland embraces all of us and … differences of opinion do not spoil the homeland’s affairs.” He added that he is keen on reactivating political reform programs, which was not a priority in the past period.

Hassan added, “The current state may have realized that its way of running the country needs to be reconsidered and that internal political action alongside economy and security is a priority and a necessity.”

Human rights groups place the number of prisoners of conscience in Egyptian prisons at tens of thousands. The Egyptian state categorically denies the detention of any person for political reasons.

Sisi’s call for dialogue was widely welcomed by the opposition forces and political parties. Under Sisi's rule, the country has seen a widespread crackdown on dissent with thousands of people imprisoned, mostly Islamists but also secular activists who participated in the 2011 uprising that toppled Mubarak.

Egypt's human rights record and campaigns to suppress dissent and restrict freedom of the press have strained relations between Cairo and Western capitals since Sisi's rise to power.

Hassan Nafea, a political science professor at Cairo University, tweeted on April 29 that the proposed dialogue must include all parties, including the Islamic movement in all its currents, in reference to the Muslim Brotherhood. He said this would be the only way to help Egypt overcome its current crisis.

However, independent observers expect the proposed dialogue to be attended by active key opposition parties and figures, in addition to the leaders of the Salafi movement and its political arm, al-Nour Party, with the exclusion of the participation of the Muslim Brotherhood or any of its figures residing abroad.

Source: Al Monitor

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https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2022/05/egypts-national-dialogue-unlikely-include-muslim-brotherhood

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Mideast

 

Iranian Deputy FM: West Rewards Terrorists by Silence

2022-May-24

Baqeri Kani made the remarks in a meeting with family members of martyred officer of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Colonel Hassan Sayyad Khodayee in Tehran on Monday night.

He blasted the western governments for keeping silence on terrorism, describing the stance as a reward for terrorists.

Baqeri Kani added that terrorism will not be uprooted as long as terrorists receive such rewards.

He also said acts of terrorism cannot affect Iran’s determination to fight terrorism in the region and the country will undoubtedly go ahead with its policy to promote security.

Colonel Sayyad Khodayee was assassinated by two motorcyclists who shot him five times before fleeing the scene on Sunday.

He was dismounting his car to enter his home in an eastern neighborhood of the Iranian capital when three bullets hit him in the head and two bullets in the hand.

Earlier on Monday, President Ebrahim Rayeesi said that "the global arrogance" is behind the terrorist act, vowing “definite revenge” for the blood of the martyr.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14010303000464/Iranian-Depy-FM-Wes-Rewards-Terrriss-by-Silence

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President: US Admits Disgraceful Failure in Maximum Pressure Policy against Iran

2022-May-24

“The westerners and Americans aimed to stop Iran's progress with sanctions, but everyone saw that the Americans themselves admitted to their disgraceful failure of the maximum pressure campaign,” Rayeesi said in Muscat on Monday.

“Nuclear weapons have absolutely no place in Iran's doctrine, but we use peaceful nuclear energy for agriculture, medicine and the petrochemical industry," he added.

Rayeesi also said that Iran-Oman relations are not limited to neighborliness, and that the deep religious and doctrinal interests and commonalities of the two nations have been linked for centuries.

Stressing that Tehran-Muscat relations have always been good and constructive throughout history, the Iranian president said, "Although we see good relations between the two countries, but this level of relationship is not convincing."

Rayeesi underscored the need to revive various neglected capacities between Iran and Oman, noting that the amount of trade, transportation and economic cooperation between Tehran and Muscat, specially in the field of energy and transit of goods, can certainly increase.

He pointed to Iran's progress in industry and medicine, and said Iran can be a good choice for Omani people in the field of health and medicine

“Despite US threats and sanctions, the Islamic Republic has made great headway in areas mostly affected by sanctions, such as the peaceful nuclear, medical, and defense industries,” Rayeesi stressed.

He said in addition to the use of foreign vaccines against the coronavirus, six Iranian companies produced the jabs, of which four companies took advantage of indigenous knowledge, and the vaccines are currently being exported.

Mahmoud al-Said, for his part, referred to historical and brotherly relations between the two nations. “Development of relations between the two countries is the result of a mutual understanding between the leaders of Iran and Oman," he said.

"Iran-Oman relations will not be limited to economic and trade relations and will include such major areas as political interactions and cooperation," he added.

The Omani deputy prime minister also lauded Iran as an ancient and historical country.

Figures by the Iranian customs office show trade between Iran and Oman reached $1.3 billion over the Persian calendar year to late March, a record high and an increase of 53% against the previous year.

President Rayeesi's administration has reached major agreements with Qatar while trade delegates have been dispatched to the UAE and Oman in recent months to explore increased economic ties with those states.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14010303000260/Presiden-US-Admis-Disgracefl-Failre-in-Maximm-Pressre-Plicy-agains

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Commander: Iran to Make Enemies Regret Terror Attack on IRGC Officer

2022-May-24

"Our reactions will be harsh and crushing and we will definitely make the enemy regret" its action, General Salami said, addressing a ceremony in Khorramshahr city in Southwestern Iran on Monday.

“Everyone knows that the Iranian nation and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps will avenge the blood of all their loved ones,” he said.

“Revenge for the blood of these loved ones will be harsh and revenge for his blood will be taken. No evil act of the enemy will go unanswered and we will freeze the enemy in his aspirations,” General Salami said.

The IRGC issued a statement soon after the assassination, saying that its former member was assassinated in a terrorist attack by counterrevolutionary elements.

The statement condoled with his family, adding that necessary measures have been taken to identify and arrest the assailant or assailants.

Also, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri said on Monday that the assassination will not go unanswered.

“The assassination of this great martyr is a sign of the despicability and humiliation of the false claimants of human rights, and their desperate efforts to cover up their disgraceful defeats against the Resistance Front,” General Baqeri noted.

He wished steadfastness for Sayyad Khodayee’s family and his honorable comrades in continuing the path of martyrs.

Meantime, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Baqeri Kani in a post on his Twitter post condemned the assassination of Sayyad Khodayee, saying the Islamic Republic will use all its international capacities to bring the assassins to justice.

“Tonight I had the honor to visit the place where Islamic Iran combatant Sayyad Khodayee embraced martyrdom. Terrorism is as much reprehensible as silence towards it. Iran shall exhaust international capacities to identify, prosecute and punish its instigators and perpetrators,” Baqeri Kani wrote.

Earlier on Monday, President Ebrahim Rayeesi said that "the global arrogance" is behind the terrorist act, vowing “definite revenge” for the blood of the martyr.

He called on Iran's judicial authorities to seriously follow up on the assassination, underlining that revenge is certain against those who perpetrated the criminal act.

Colonel Sayyad Khodayee was assassinated by two motorcyclists who shot him five times before fleeing the scene on Sunday.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14010303000317/Cmmander-Iran-Make-Enemies-Regre-Terrr-Aack-n-IRGC-Officer

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Iran: Israel Playing Role of Terrorists in Syria

2022-May-24

The recent missile attack on a settlement near Lady Zaynab Shrine in Syria targeted a public parking lot and led to damages and injuries, Khatibzadeh said.

In recent years, the air force of the Zionist regime has played the role of terrorist groups in Syria, he noted, adding that each time the Syrian army has inflicted a failure on terrorists, the Zionist regime has carried out aggressive attacks.

Khatibzadeh said that the overt and covert backing by the US has had a significant role in emboldening the Zionist regime in a way that it has not only continued occupation of Golan Heights but also has repeatedly targeted the Syrian infrastructure.

Asked about the dust haze striking Iran and surrounding countries, he said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been trying to persuade neighboring countries to expand regional partnership and implement a regional arrangement to fight the environmental phenomenon.

The spokesman said that the ministry has also worked with international organizations, including UNEP and Organization of Islamic Cooperation, to specifically address the dust issue.

On the political comments made by Canadian Government officials on the preparatory soccer match between the national football teams of Iran and Canada, he underlined that the match has been independently organized by the football federations of the two countries and the Canadian side has announced that it is determined to host the match.

He criticized the Canadian prime minister and government for prioritizing mere political and partial viewpoints over broader governmental dimension.

Israeli surface-to-surface missiles killed three people near the Syrian capital Damascus on Friday, state media said quoting a military source.

"The Israeli enemy carried out an aggression... that led to the death of three martyrs and some material losses," Syria's official news agency SANA quoted the source as saying.

The missiles came from the Israeli-occupied Golan heights and were intercepted by the Syrian air defenses, the military source said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said that the three people killed were officers and that four other members of the air defense crew were wounded.

The Israeli strikes targeted Iranian positions and weapon depots near Damascus, the monitor said.

A fire broke at one of the positions near the Damascus airport, where ambulances were seen rushing to the site of the strikes, according to the Observatory.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14010303000726/Iran-Israel-Playing-Rle-f-Terrriss-in-Syria

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Palestinian teen shot dead in Israeli raid on West Bank

25 May ,2022

Health authorities said a 16-year-old Palestinian died early Wednesday after being wounded during clashes with Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank, the latest in a wave of violence that has persisted for months.

The Palestinian health ministry said Ghaith Yamin was wounded by a gunshot to the head and died at a hospital. Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency, reported that the clashes erupted when Jewish worshipers, escorted by the military, arrived at a shrine on the outskirts of Nablus city to pray.

At least 15 Palestinians were wounded by live fire, according to Wafa, during the clashes near Joseph’s Tomb, a frequent flashpoint site. Some Jews believe biblical Joseph is buried at the site, while Palestinians say it’s the tomb of a Sheikh.

On Tuesday, Israeli authorities said they have foiled a wide-ranging plot by Palestinian militant Hamas group to shoot a member of parliament, kidnap soldiers and bomb Jerusalem’s light rail system during a surge of violence that has left dozens dead in recent weeks.

The police and Shin Bet security services said in a statement that five Palestinian men from east Jerusalem had been arrested for allegedly planning a shooting attack against far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir and other targets at a time of heightened tensions in the flashpoint city.

The suspects, authorities said, had planned the attacks last month, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, to “destabilize” the area around the al-Aqsa Mosque, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

Authorities said a drone was found, intended to be armed and used in an attack on Jerusalem’s light rail, which sees daily crowds of commuters and tourists.

They identified the plot leaders as Hamas militants Rashid Rashak and Mansur Tzafadi, who “delivered many fireworks, flags and Hamas videos” to east Jerusalem neighborhoods last month during Ramadan. Security forces also seized a camera to be used to photograph “abductees,” cash and other equipment.

The statement did not say how close they came to carrying out the plot. There was no immediate comment from Hamas.

The arrests came at a time of heightened violence between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli police in east Jerusalem, much of it concentrated at a contested holy site. Israel also has stepped up military activity in the West Bank in recent weeks in response to a series of deadly attacks inside Israel.

Next week, Israeli ultranationalists plan to march through the main Muslim thoroughfare of the Old City.

The march is meant to celebrate Israel’s capture of east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. Israel subsequently annexed the area in a step that is not internationally recognized. The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.

Also inflaming tensions is the death of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh during a firefight in Jenin. A reconstruction by The Associated Press lends support to assertions from both Palestinian authorities and Abu Akleh’s colleagues that the bullet that cut her down came from an Israeli gun.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/05/25/Palestinian-teen-shot-dead-in-Israeli-raid-on-West-Bank

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Turkish minister aims to boost Palestinian economy in rare West Bank trip

24 May ,2022

Turkey’s top diplomat announced Tuesday a raft of new agreements to bolster the struggling Palestinian economy, during the first high-level Turkish visit to the Israeli-occupied West Bank in 15 years.

During Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s trip to Ramallah, Turkey signed nine new pacts with the embattled Palestinian Authority, ranging from agriculture to education and trade.

Cavusoglu will meet Israeli officials on Wednesday, the latest step in a diplomatic thaw between Ankara and the Jewish state. He will also make a private visit to the al-Asqa mosque compound in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

Alongside his Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Maliki, Cavusoglu pledged to push ahead with plans for the construction of an industrial zone in the Palestinian territories.

“The necessary order has been given; there is no luxury for evading and delaying this project,” he said, also setting a $2 billion annual bilateral trade target and pledging more scholarships with Palestinians to study in Turkey.

The World Bank warned this month that the Palestinian economy was in a “precarious” state, with the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority - a major West Bank employer - only paying partial wages since November.

Maliki described Cavusoglu’s visit as “historic” and reflecting the “special relationship between the two countries.”

Turkey has long been a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause, but visits to the West Bank had been obstructed by a 15-year diplomatic rupture between Ankara and Israel.

Israel and Turkey proclaimed a new era in relations following President Isaac Herzog’s visit to Ankara and Istanbul in March.

Cavusoglu’s Ramallah visit came as fresh violence rocked the West Bank flashpoint of Jenin.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/05/24/Turkish-minister-aims-to-boost-Palestinian-economy-in-rare-West-Bank-trip

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5 Turkish soldiers killed by PKK terror group in northern Iraq

Zafer Fatih Beyaz  

24.05.2022

Five Turkish soldiers were killed by PKK terrorists in northern Iraq, near the Turkish border, Turkiye's National Defense Ministry said Tuesday.

Three of them were killed when clashes erupted between Turkish troops and the terrorists in the region where Turkiye launched its latest anti-terror operation, Claw-Lock.

Four other members of the Turkish forces were also injured in the attack, and they were taken to a hospital, where two succumbed to their wounds.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkiye, the US, and European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

Turkiye has launched successive operations against the PKK in northern Iraq since 2020, most recently Operation Claw-Lock in April to target PKK hideouts in Iraq's Metina region.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/5-turkish-soldiers-killed-by-pkk-terror-group-in-northern-iraq/2596676

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Turkish foreign minister’s visit to Israel ‘very important’: Spokesman

Abdelraouf Arna'out 

24.05.2022

JERUSALEM

An Israeli spokesman on Tuesday hailed Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s visit to Israel as "very important."

“This is a very important visit and part of a process to warm up relations between the two countries,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Khayyat told Anadolu Agency.

Cavusoglu arrived in Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport earlier Tuesday and headed to the West Bank city of Ramallah to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki.

The top Turkish diplomat will meet on Wednesday with several Israeli officials, including Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov, according to the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation network (KAN).

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/turkish-foreign-minister-s-visit-to-israel-very-important-spokesman/2596348

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Africa

 

Al-Sunni stresses importance of US role in Libyan peace process

 May 24, 2022

Libya's Ambassador to the United Nations, Taher Al-Sunni, reviewed during his meeting with his US counterpart, Linda Greenfield, the developing situation in Libya and the challenges facing the political track.

"Reiterated the importance of US role to support Libyans towards a peaceful path to avoid any violence/military confrontation," Al-Sunni tweeted on Monday.

Ambassador Al-Sunni discussed international efforts, including UN-led dialogues, and emphasized the need for consensus toward national elections soon.

The two sides also exchanged notes on the impact of the current international crisis on Libya and the importance of supporting security, economic stability, and ending all kinds of foreign interference.

Source: Libya Observer

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

https://www.libyaobserver.ly/news/al-sunni-stresses-importance-us-role-libyan-peace-process

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Somali foreign minister suspended over charcoal export to Oman breaking UN sanctions

24 May ,2022

Somalia’s prime minister suspended the foreign minister on Tuesday, citing the authorization of a ship exporting charcoal to Oman in violation of international sanctions.

The UN Security Council banned such shipments a decade ago to cut funding for the extremist group al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda franchise fighting Somalia’s central government.

Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble’s office said that as well as suspending Foreign Minister Abdisaid Muse Ali, he had ordered an audit and judicial investigation into the ministry’s authorization of the shipment.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/05/24/-Somali-foreign-minister-suspended-over-charcoal-export-to-Oman-breaking-UN-sanctions

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Somali prime minister suspends foreign minister

Mohammed Dhaysane 

24.05.2022

MOGADISHU, Somalia

Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble announced Tuesday that he suspended Foreign Minister Abdisaiid Muuse Ali for allegedly releasing a ship carrying illegal charcoal that was detained in Oman.

Roble said he instructed the Office of the National Auditor and security agencies to investigate the issue and give the results to the country's judicial authorities.

He described the release of the ship as "illegal" and against the nation’s laws and international law.

State media reported that Abdisaid has been suspended for abusing his power.

Experts said relations between Roble and Abdisaid have recently deteriorated.

"The PM waited for the right moment to fire him since President Farmaajo (now former President Mohamed Abdulllahi Mohamed) lost the elections and targeting his close allies was obvious," Abdurahman Sheikh Azhari, director of the Centre for Analysis and Strategic Studies ( CASS), a think tank based in Mogadishu, told Anadolu Agency.

He said Roble based his suspension for alleged violations Abdisaid made with several changes in diplomatic missions, recruiting those close to him and communicating with the Omani government to release a ship full of illegal charcoal without the knowledge of the prime minister.

Meanwhile, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has made his fifth appointment since taking office Monday when he appointed Hussein Moalim as his national security adviser.

The appointment will help the new president with his "profound commitment to achieving a safer Somalia," said a statement by the State House.

"Mr. Hussein possesses rich experience & expertise in National Security & has architected several security strategies," according to the Somali presidency.

Hussein previously served in the post and he was chairman of Mogadishu-based think tank, Hiraal Institute.

And as climate change-related drought hit the Horn of African nation worsens, the president named Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame as Special Envoy to Drought Response on Tuesday.

Warsame was a presidential candidate in the last election.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/somali-prime-minister-suspends-foreign-minister/2596699

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