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Islamic World News ( 24 Sept 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Head of India's Deoband Islamic Seminary Urges Taliban to Be Pragmatic but Supports Complete Segregation of Men and Women in Education

New Age Islam News Bureau

25 September 2021

 

A file photo of Dar ul Uloom Deoband

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• Muslim Jurists Regard Mental Capacity Of A Child As Of Crucial Importance For Conversion To Islam: LHC

• We Were Not Threat to World in Past 20 Years: Acting Foreign Minister of Afghanistan

• 'Big Green Jummah': UK Mosques Dedicate Friday Sermon To Climate Change Awareness

 

India

• Strange but True: Hindus Maintain, Ensure Five-Time Azan in This Bihar Village with No Muslim Family

• Muslim Majority Opposed Jinnah’s 2 Nation Theory, Most in Bihar: AMU Teacher

• After 'Land Jihad' Charge by BJP Leader, Uttarakhand Govt Wants Strict Action in 'Such Areas': Report

• Mumbai Rewind: Built on a water body, Mumbai’s largest and oldest mosque

• Conversion racket case: AMU students protest against arrest of Islamic scholar Kaleem Siddiqui

• 'Afghan soil must not be used for terrorism': India, US remind Taliban of commitments

• India, US condemn cross-border terrorism; call for perpetrators of 26/11 attacks to be brought to justice

• India raises tone as Pakistan appeals to work with Taliban

• 'Pak has history of supporting terrorists', India slams Imran Khan in its Right of Reply at UNGA

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Pakistan

• Protest lodged with India over targeting of Muslims in India's Assam state

• Imran Khan paints Pakistan as victim of US' ungratefulness

• 6 suspected terrorists killed in encounter with Pakistani security forces

• In meeting with UN chief, Qureshi calls for 'urgent action' on humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

• Pakistan concerned about Afghan terror threat: PM Imran

• 6 terrorists including 2 commanders killed in Kharan operation: ISPR

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South Asia

• It's almost certain Afghanistan's Taliban won't speak at UN

• US grants licenses for more aid flow to Afghanistan despite sanctions

• Multiple blasts: Three bodies found in Afghanistan's Jalalabad

• Afghan Taliban defence minister orders crackdown on abuses

• People protest in Kabul against US over frozen assets

• Bangladesh eyes more EU action for Rohingya return to Myanmar

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Europe

• UN Updates Syria War Death Toll, Says 350,000 'Certainly An Undercount'

• Turkey's Diyanet religious body threatens secularism

• West's failure in Afghanistan no cause for schadenfreude: German president

• ‘Hundreds of thousands of migrant children missing in Europe’

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North America

• US, Pakistan Face Each Other Again On Afghanistan Threats

• Iran must ‘move quickly’ if it wants to resume nuclear deal talks: US official

• White House dispatching special envoy to Sudan to reaffirm US support

• US Treasury facilitates humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan

• Hunter Biden reportedly sought over $2M to help unfreeze Libya assets

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Africa

• Suicide Bombing Near Military Headquarters in Somali Capital

• Mozambicans Return to Uncertain Future after Islamists Pushed Back

• Sudan needs new date for civilian leadership handover: Sovereign Council

• Protesters block Port Sudan airport, key bridge over peace deal with rebel groups

• Over 100 officials from Tunisia’s Ennahda Party resign amid crisis

• Morocco gets first batch of Turkish combat drones: Report

• Algerian official warns of further measures against Morocco

• Hamas calls for protection of Palestinian assets in Sudan

• Talks between Somali president, prime minister end in stalemate

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Southeast Asia

• Citizenship Ruling for Children Born Abroad To Malaysian Mums: Cabinet Agrees To Continue With Appeal, Says Home Minister

• Why Singapore may be reluctant to reopen its border with Johor, according to Malaysian workers’ association rep

• On PM’s first official visit to Johor, Sultan Ibrahim urges Putrajaya to expedite review of MM2H

• Pejuang, Warisan’s snub of bipartisan deal shows Pakatan still far from unifying Opposition, say analysts

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Arab World

• Iraqi Kurdistan Conference Pushes For Baghdad-Israel Normalization

• Lebanon president Aoun tells UN big challenges await government, help needed

• Macron urges new Lebanese PM Mikati to undertake ‘urgent’ reforms

• Saudi Arabia FM meets US special envoy for Iran, top international diplomats at UN

• Saudi defence forces destroy Houthi drone heading towards Abha

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Mideast

• Palestinian President Abbas Tells UN Israel's Actions Could Lead To ‘One State’

• Israeli troops shoot dead Palestinian man during clashes at West Bank settlement

• Turkey calls on Greece to respect rights of Muslim students

• IRGC: US Left with No Option, But to Leave West Asia

• Iranian FM Criticizes Britain, EU for Inaction on US Moves against JCPOA

• ‘Soon’ for Iran differs from West’s in nuclear talks: Top Iranian diplomat

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:   https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/taliban-deoband-dar-ul-uloom-women/d/125436

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Head of India's Deoband Islamic Seminary Urges Taliban to Be Pragmatic but Supports Complete Segregation of Men and Women in Education

September 25, 2021

 

A file photo of Dar ul Uloom Deoband

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By Abubakar Siddique

The austere form of Sunni Islam that Afghanistan's Taliban rulers follow is rooted in an Islamic seminary in Deoband, a town in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

It is an interpretation of Islam that is used by the Taliban to justify their clerical government and their goals for a hard-line Islamic system.

The 82-year-old principal of Darul Uloom Deoband, the Islamic school in Deoband, tells RFE/RL he hopes the Taliban will be tolerant, just, and pragmatic. But he says he also supports the Taliban's apparent drive to completely segregate men and women in education.

Maulana Syed Arshad Madani says he thinks the Taliban's seizure of power in Afghanistan was a positive development because the Islamist movement liberated the country from foreign occupation.

"We will welcome them so long as they don't differentiate between the majority and the minority and will protect the life, property, and honor of everyone," Madani told RFE/RL's Gandhara this week.

"[The Taliban-led government] should not have two different yardsticks for the people who are in the majority or minority as Afghanistan is a multiethnic state with Tajiks and Uzbeks living alongside Pashto speakers," Madani said.

Since taking over Kabul on August 15, the Taliban has appointed mostly its senior leaders, predominantly Pashtun clerics, to top positions in the Taliban-led government.

The Taliban-led cabinet has only a few members from the Tajik, Uzbek, and Hazara minorities. Notably absent are women, non-Muslim minorities, or representatives of smaller ethnic groups such as Baluch, Nuristanis, and Turkmen.

Likewise, members of other Afghan political groups have little representation in what the Taliban had promised would be an "inclusive" government.

Historical Ties

Madani is adamant that his school has no current connection to the Taliban as none of its leaders was educated in his India-based seminary.

But he says the Taliban has some historical ties to the Deoband Movement, whose leaders were staunchly anti-British and established an exiled Indian government in the second decade of the 20th century.

Its goal was to liberate their country from the British through an armed struggle in cooperation with the Ottoman Empire, the Durrani Amir, and the Pashtun tribes straddling the border of British India and Afghanistan.

After the British discovered the plot in 1916, Madani's father Maulana Syed Hussain Ahmad Madani served a prison sentence in Malta along with his teacher and top Deobandi cleric Maulana Mehmud Hasan.

The elder Madani later allied with Mahatma Gandhi and opposed the founding of Pakistan as a homeland for South Asia's Muslims, arguing that nation states could not be founded on the basis of religion alone.

"Today, those Afghans who call themselves Deobandis are the children or grandchildren of those people who were associated with that movement and their exiled government there," Madani told RFE/RL, referring to the orthodox Sunni sect in South Asia.

Deobandis are a prominent strain among Islamists in modern-day Pakistan and Afghanistan.

But unlike most Deobandis in Pakistan, where political parties established by Deobandi clerics engage in peaceful political processes, Afghanistan's Taliban have seized power twice through military conquest during the past quarter-century.

Pakistani Sunni clerics who call themselves Deobandis have little contact with the original Deoband school in northern India.

Still, their schools follow Deoband's program of studies. That program focuses on Islamic jurisprudence, interpretations of the Koran, theology, philosophy, and the life and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.

The major thrust of these studies is what the strict Sunni sect sees as the purification of current Islamic practices of unorthodox additions.

Many, if not all of the Taliban's leaders and foot soldiers, were educated at these madrasahs in Pakistan.

Alumni from Haqqania, one of the most prominent Deobandi schools in Pakistan's northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, hold many prominent posts in the current Taliban-led government.

Two members of the Haqqanis, a prominent Taliban family, are now Taliban ministers.

Some Deobandi madrasahs in Pakistan have received funding from Saudi Arabia since Riyadh became a major donor of the mujaheddin guerillas fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

However, Madani says he has no issue with the Taliban's clerical government.

"There is nothing wrong with a government made up solely of religious people who want to reform their country into a peaceful environment in the contemporary world," Madani told RFE/RL. "If the ulema (Muslim clerics) know Islam's teachings regarding humanity and are able to deal with everyone without discrimination because of their faith, then that is a good thing."

Madani says he supports the Taliban's attempts to segregate men and women.

"They are requiring people to observe the Islamic requirement of hijab," he said, referring to the Arabic word for veil, which denotes the Islamic concept that members of the opposite sexes should not mix if they are not related.

"Allah created women's bodies differently from men," he says. "They must dress in a such a way that does not create fitnah," or temptation.

Crescendo Of Criticism

Since seizing power, the Taliban has faced a crescendo of international criticism and domestic opposition.

That includes protests by Afghan women who oppose the Taliban's restrictions and fear they will be deprived of work, education, mobility, and public life.

The Taliban banned women from education and work during their first stint in power during the 1990s, when women were not allowed to even leave their homes without a male relative to accompany them.

The concerns of Afghan women were reinforced last week when the Taliban delayed opening secondary schools and universities for girls after they allowed boys and men to return to education.

Madani cites the example of India, where scores of universities and thousands or colleges are attended only by women.

"If it can happen in our country, what is so wrong with the Afghan government wanting to do the same?" he asked. "If the Afghan government can enforce [segregated education], it will mean the door to education for girls has opened."

Madani encourages the Taliban to have peaceful and beneficial contact with the world.

"They should adopt all the ways of living in the contemporary world with honor and dignity," he said. "While embracing their religion, the Taliban should establish relations with the world and aim to develop their country."

Still, Madani says he is not too keen to host Taliban leaders. He says Deoband's school will welcome Afghan students only if they obtain student visas from the Indian government.

He also seems reluctant to visit Afghanistan in order to offer his advice to the Taliban.

"I am an 82-year-old," he told RFE/RL. "I cannot even travel to a mosque. How would I get to Afghanistan?"

Source: Gandhara

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

https://gandhara.rferl.org/a/taliban-deoband-madani-pragmatic/31477562.html

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Muslim Jurists Regard Mental Capacity Of A Child As Of Crucial Importance For Conversion To Islam: LHC

 

A file photo of the Lahore High Court. — AFP/File

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Wajih Ahmad Sheikh

September 25, 2021

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) has ruled that Muslim jurists regard mental capacity of a child as of crucial importance for conversion to Islam.

“There is no exact definition of religion. It is a matter of faith…,” observed Justice Tariq Nadeem while dismissing a petition filed by a member of the Christian community seeking recovery of his daughter who married a Muslim man after embracing Islam.

Gulzar Masih, a rickshaw driver from Faisalabad, had alleged that his minor daughter Chashman Kanwal was abducted by Mohammad Usman and his accomplices.

He said the police found the girl but refused to hand over her custody to him saying she had converted to Islam and married Usman. Gulzar said he approached a local court in Faisalabad but it dismissed his application for the recovery of his daughter.

Verdict says neither Quran nor hadith expressly stipulates minimum age for the conversion

In his detailed verdict on the petition on which a short order was issued last week, Justice Nadeem observes that the Supreme Court has held that Article 20 of the Constitution grants rights to citizens to propagate their faith but that right does not allow anyone to convert a person to another religion by coercion or inducement.

Justice Nadeem maintains that forced conversion or imposing beliefs on others rather constitutes infringement of the right to freedom of religion.

The judge says that neither Holy Quran nor any specific hadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) expressly stipulates minimum age for conversion to Islam.

Justice Nadeem notes that Hazrat Ali (RA) was only ten when he accepted Islam.

However, he says, Muslim jurists regard mental capacity of a child as of crucial importance when considering the question of his/her conversion.

The judge remarks that the age of discernment is generally reckoned as the age when one attains puberty.

Justice Nadeem holds that the high court cannot undertake a factual inquiry while exercising its jurisdiction under Article 199 of the Constitution as the question whether a conversion is tainted or otherwise cannot be determined without recording evidence.

The judge notes that the petitioner mentioned the age of his daughter as 17 years in the FIR and it divulged from the record that she had contracted marriage with the respondent and also recorded her statement before a judicial magistrate under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The judge states that the girl in her statement had said that she was sui juris and had embraced Islam on her own free will and without any coercion and no one had abducted her.

“In the eventuality of above discussion, the instant writ petition has no merit and is hereby dismissed in limine,” the verdict concluded.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1648248/mental-capacity-is-of-crucial-value-for-conversion-lhc

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We Were Not Threat to World In Past 20 Years: Acting Foreign Minister Of Afghanistan

24 Sep 2021

The acting foreign minister of Afghanistan Amir Khan Motaqi has said that the Taliban were no threat to the world in the past twenty years and added that they should not be pressurized now.

Amir Khan Motaqi said that they have good relations with the world and added that the pressures of a number of countries will not work.

Though the acting minister did not name any country, he indirectly addressed the US as it is putting pressure over the Taliban by freezing billions of dollars of the central bank of Afghanistan.

“A developed and stable Afghanistan is in the favor of the region and the world and the international community now knows this.” Said Motaqi.

The acting foreign minister added that their relations with the world are getting shape and they are trying to build economic relations which will be in favor of the entire region.

It comes as a delegation of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is reportedly visiting Moscow.

Earlier, Pakistani foreign minister Mahmoud Qureshi had said that the world should be lenient with the Taliban and release the frozen assets.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/we-were-not-threat-to-world-in-past-20-years-taliban-6456456/

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'Big Green Jummah': UK mosques dedicate Friday sermon to climate change awareness

24 September, 2021

Mosques around the United Kingdom dedicated their Friday sermons to raising awareness about the environment and devastating impacts of climate change as part of one-week initiative.

Making the announcement on their social media pages, the Muslim Council of Britain - the UK's largest umbrella body for Muslim-led organisations – said they teamed up with the Muslim Charities Forum for the Great Big Green Week, or The Big Green Jummah, which began on 18 and will finish on 26 September.

"As Muslims, we have a religious duty towards protecting and preserving this Earth, and all that’s in it," the MCB wrote.

Verses from the Quran were shared to stress from a theological point of view the importance of preserving the environment and tackling climate change.

There are over 2.6 million Muslims of different ethnicities living in the UK, with over 1,800 mosques.

A landmark United Nations climate science report in August warned that human activity has already locked in climate disruptions for decades - but that rapid, large-scale action to reduce emissions could still stave off some of the most destructive impacts.

So far, governments do not plan to cut emissions anywhere near fast enough to do that.

The UN said last week that countries' commitments would see global emissions increase to be 16% higher in 2030 than they were in 2010 - far off the 45% reduction by 2030 needed to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Source: The New Arab

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

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/news/uk-mosques-take-day-raise-awareness-climate-change

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India

 

Strange but True: Hindus Maintain, Ensure Five-Time Azan In This Bihar Village With No Muslim Family

Sep 25, 2021

BIHARSHARIF: Sounds strange but true that the Hindu residents of Madi village under Ben block in Nalanda district treat the local mosque as a living deity.

Ever since the last of the Muslim families left the village after the 1981 communal riots, the Hindu residents not only maintain the mosque but also ensure timely five times ‘azan’ (call for prayers) using electronic devices. A local resident, Uday Kumar, said the mosque is like a living deity for them as its existence protected them from the devastation of floods and other natural calamities. He said when the last of the Muslim families left the village, the Hindus have taken up the upkeep of the mosque.

“Funds for meeting the expenses of the mosque are collected from local residents. Every sacred work in the village begins with the attendance and prayers at the mosque,” Uday said. Even newlywed Hindu couples first visit the mosque to receive blessings before visiting a temple. Those leaving or visiting the village offer prayers there.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/hindus-maintain-guard-this-mosque-in-nalanda-village/articleshow/86491222.cms

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Muslim majority opposed Jinnah’s 2 nation theory, most in Bihar: AMU teacher

By Reena Sopam

SEP 25, 2021

With the renewal of a public debate over the two-nation theory-- given by Mohammad Ali Jinnah-- an Aligarh Muslim University teacher said that the majority of Muslims in India, especially in Bihar, used to oppose the divisive theory which was a major factor in the united India’s partition.

“Things need to be cleared now as many people, even the intellectuals, seem to believe that the two-Nation theory was the aspiration of general Muslim population in our country at that time. On the contrary, the majority of Muslims were not in favour of division of the country,” Dr Mohammed Sajjad from the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) said in Patna on Friday.

Speaking at an online session of the Bihar State Archive, Sajjad said demonstrations and protest meetings were held widely in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and West Bengal, however, “the resistance to the theory was strongest in Bihar.”

The AMU teacher further said that various Muslim groups played a major role in protests against the divisive policies of Muslim League. “Public meetings were held and strong protests were also expressed in the journals and books published at that time,” he said.

He cited a book, Talash-e Manzil, written by prominent Muslim leader from pre-Independence days, Shah Mohammed, which stated that the majority of Muslims were against Jinnah’s two nation theory. “And to condemn this theory before the Lahore conference, many of the nationalist Muslim groups held a conference in Delhi in April 1940. Mohammed also wrote that before the Lahore Conference, Muslim League had made heavy propaganda in support of the two nation theory using religious spots and groups,” Sajjad said.

He also said that an Urdu weekly called Naquib, published by Imarat-e- Sharia, was strongly opposed to the theory. “In its edition on April 14, 1940, Maulana Abdul Mohsin Mohammed Sajjad raised a difficult question before Jinnah. Maulana questioned the rationale behind Jinnah’s hue and cry over alleged torture of Muslims in Hindu dominated areas and his desire to create Pakistan, where Hindus could live in Muslim-dominated areas,” the AMU teacher said.

Source: Hindustan Times

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

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/patna-news/muslim-majority-opposed-jinnah-s-2-nation-theory-most-in-bihar-amu-teacher-101632551414829.html

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After 'Land Jihad' Charge by BJP Leader, Uttarakhand Govt Wants Strict Action in 'Such Areas': Report

SEPTEMBER 25, 2021

Less than a month after Uttarakhand BJP leader Ajendra Ajay wrote to CM Pushkar Singh Dhami, objecting to the purchase of land in the hills and setting up places of worship by “members of a certain community”, terming it “land jihad”, the state government in an official communication, said it had come to its notice that “rapid population growth in some areas of the state had led to a demographic shift, whose ill-effects had started showing in the form of migration of people of certain communities”.

According to a report by Times of India, the official release stated, “There is a possibility of communal atmosphere getting vitiated in some places. Expressing concern over the situation, the government has directed the DGP, all district magistrates and SSPs to take precautionary steps to address the problem”.

The release added, the government has called for the formation of peace committees in various areas.

“Police and district authorities have been told to mark such areas and ensure strict action is taken against anti-social elements. They have also been asked to prepare a district-wise list of people who have come from other states and have a criminal history,” it said.

Ajendra Ajay, who hit the headlines in 2018 for opposing the release of the film ‘Kedarnath’ and eventually succeeded in getting the movie banned in Uttarakhand, last month said he has taken up the matter of ‘land jihad’ with Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami and urged him to take action.

Along with the ‘land jihad’ issue, Ajendra Ajay also raised the matter of increased migration in the hill state and the increase in the population of the same religious community in his meeting with CM Pushkar Singh Dhami last month.

Source: News18

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

https://www.news18.com/news/india/after-land-jihad-charge-by-bjp-leader-uttarakhand-govt-wants-strict-action-in-such-areas-report-4243664.html

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Mumbai Rewind: Built on a water body, Mumbai’s largest and oldest mosque

by Zeeshan Shaikh

September 25, 2021

Most visitors who come to Zaveri Bazaar or Crawford Market in Mumbai come here in search of a bargain. But only a few of them are dimly aware of the extraordinary vitality of the arabesque architecture of Juma Masjid, one of the largest and oldest mosques in Mumbai that lies at the intersection of the city’s premier commercial streets.

In existence since 1802, the quadrangular-shaped Juma Masjid is built over a large water reservoir with the help of sixteen black stone arches which rise from the depth of the water to support its massive two-storeyed structure.

The mosque was built as Mumbai’s principal Masjid by Konkani Muslims, a maritime mercantile community known to be one of the early settlers in erstwhile Bombay. The need for the mosque was necessitated after two previous Jama Masjids located in Dongri and one close to where the existing Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus stands were dismantled in the mid-18th Century by the erstwhile British administrators of the city.

As per the The Gazetteer for Bombay City and Island that was compiled by S M Edwardes in 1909, for the erstwhile British regime, it was in 1775 that the Konkani Muslim community got together with an aim to build a new Jama Masjid. A Konkani Muslim merchant named Kazi Hussain Pallavkar with trading links to places like Goa and Calicut offered his land. The caveat, however, was that the large water reservoir should be preserved for perpetuity.

Patrons of the Masjid claim that various architects, including Britishers, were asked to submit designs for the proposed mosque. An architect named Mehr Ali was then selected to construct the structure on the lake. The complexity of the design and a legal wrangle meant that the construction stretched on for a good 27 years. The first congregational Friday prayers were held in December 1802 and the one-storey masjid that had been built on a water body and looked as if it floated on water was allegorically named as Jahaz-i- Akhirat or the ‘The Ship of Hereafter’.

As the population of erstwhile Bombay grew, the need for an expansion was felt and in 1837, Mohammad Ali Mohammad Hussain Roghay offered to fund the renovation and extension of the masjid.

Upon completion, it became one of the first two-storeyed mosques in India. The highpoint of the renovation, however, was the sprawling long-span column free congregation room and a gravity defying roof full of intricate curvilinear motifs.

The entire roof is held in place by no more than a dozen pillars and scissor-like trusses hidden from view that hold the roof in place.

Over the years, the masjid has had multiple additions, including an intricately-carved marble pulpit which weighs more than a tonne. Its 15 feet-high almirahs carved from teak wood bristle out from its walls while a massive half a tonne chandelier provides lighting for the sprawling space.

Source: Indian Express

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

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/rewind-hook-built-on-a-water-body-mumbais-largest-and-oldest-mosque-7532968/

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Conversion racket case: AMU students protest against arrest of Islamic scholar Kaleem Siddiqui

By Hemendra Chaturvedi

SEP 24, 2021

Agra The recent arrest of Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui, an Islamic scholar and senior cleric of western Uttar Pradesh, was opposed by students of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and members of civil societies in Aligarh on Friday.

Maulana Siddiqui was arrested on Wednesday from Meerut by Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on charges of running a conversion syndicate, on the clues obtained from the arrested activist, Umar Gautam, during an interrogation the by ATS.

A group of students from Aligarh Muslim University took out a protest march on the AMU campus on Friday against the arrest of Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui. They warned district administration that they would intensify their agitation if Maulana was not released at the earliest.

AMU students gathered at ‘Bab-e-Syed’ gate of the university and reached Jama Masjid on the campus and offered Friday namaaz there before starting their protest march till ‘Bab-e-Syed’ gate to press for their demand. The angry students also raised slogans against Islamophobia.

Police was deployed at the Bab-e-Syed gate where students read out charter of their demand addressed to the President and called for stopping the witch hunt of Muslim preachers, activists, Ulemas, political and community leaders. “Students would not settle until Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui and activist Umar Gautam were released,” said a student leader at Bab-e-Syed gate.

Meanwhile, members of civil societies, including former president of Aligarh Muslim University Student Union, M Salman Imtiaz, also staged a separate protest and handed over a memorandum addressed to the governor of Uttar Pradesh to express their anguish for uncalled arrest of Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui.

“Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui has been illegally arrested in a false case of illegal religious conversion. It is all part of a conspiracy hatched by the ruling party in the state. All are free to have their religious belief and practice religion of their choice. The Muslim preachers never force others to accept Islam by coercion or threat,” stated Salman M Imtiaz, the former president of Aligarh Muslim University Student Union.

In the memorandum, they said the arrest of some Muslim clerics over alleged unlawful religious conversions and the “harassment and eviction of Muslims in Assam on the citizenship issue were creating an atmosphere of fear and insecurity in the minds of Muslims”.

Source: Hindustan Times

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

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/others/conversion-racket-case-amu-students-protest-against-arrest-of-islamic-scholar-kaleem-siddiqui-101632507310046.html

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'Afghan soil must not be used for terrorism': India, US remind Taliban of commitments

Sep 25, 2021

NEW DELHI: India and US have called upon the Taliban to keeps their commitments on human rights, women's issues, minorities and of not allowing Afghan soil to be used for terrorism.In a joint statement after the Modi-Biden bilateral talks in Washington on Friday, the two leaders underscored the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Biden resolved that the Taliban must abide by UNSC Resolution 2593 (2021) which demands that Afghan territory must never again be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists, or to plan or finance terrorist attacks, and underscored the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan.

They also called on the Taliban to allow full, safe, direct and unhindered access for the UN, its specialised agencies and implementing partners, and all humanitarian actors engaged in humanitarian relief activity, including with respect to internally displaced persons, the statement said.

India and US said they were determined to continue to closely coordinate and to work jointly with partners toward an inclusive and peaceful future for all Afghans.

The Taliban swept across Afghanistan last month, seizing control of almost all key towns and cities in the backdrop of withdrawal of the US forces that began on May 1. On August 15, the capital city of Kabul fell to the insurgents.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/afghan-soil-must-not-be-used-for-terrorism-india-us-remind-taliban-of-assurances/articleshow/86504105.cms

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India raises tone as Pakistan appeals to work with Taliban

Sep 25, 2021

WASHINGTON: India on Friday upbraided Pakistan both in Washington and at the United Nations as Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan appealed to the world to work with Afghanistan's triumphant Taliban.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised concerns about Pakistan during talks with US President Joe Biden as well as a broader four-way summit with the leaders of Australia and Japan, according to Indian officials, who said the others concurred.

"There was a clear sense that a more careful look and a more careful examination and monitoring of Pakistan's role in Afghanistan -- Pakistan's role on the issue of terrorism -- had to be kept," Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla told reporters after the White House talks.

Khan, addressing the UN General Assembly, said that the Taliban have promised to respect human rights and build an inclusive government since taking over last month, despite global disappointment in a caretaker cabinet.

"If the world community incentivizes them, and encourages them to walk this talk, it will be a win-win situation for everyone," Khan said.

"We must strengthen and stabilize the current government, for the sake of the people of Afghanistan."

Khan spent much of his speech defending the record of Pakistan, which was the main supporter of the Taliban's 1996-2001 regime that imposed an ultra-austere interpretation of Islam and welcomed Al-Qaeda, triggering the US invasion after the September 11 attacks.

Khan, a longstanding critic of the 20-year US war ended by President Joe Biden, blamed imprecise US drone strikes for the flareup of extremism inside Pakistan and pointed to Islamabad's cooperation with US forces.

"There is a lot of worry in the US about taking care of the interpreters and everyone who helped the US. What about us?" Khan said in a speech, pre-recorded by video due to Covid-19 precautions.

"At least there should have been a word of appreciation. But rather than appreciation, imagine how we feel when we are blamed for the turn of events in Afghanistan."

US officials have long accused Islamabad's powerful intelligence services of maintaining support for the Taliban, leading Biden's predecessor Donald Trump to slash military aid.

Biden has yet to speak let alone invite Khan, although Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Thursday on the UN sidelines with his Pakistani counterpart and offered thanks for help repatriating US citizens from Afghanistan.

Khan accused a world eager for India's billion-plus market of giving "complete impunity" to Modi in a speech that was loaded even for Pakistan, which routinely castigates India at the United Nations.

"The hate-filled Hindutva ideology, propagated by the fascist RSS-BJP regime, has unleashed a reign of fear and violence against India's 200 million-strong Muslim community," Khan said.

Khan was referring to Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party and the affiliated Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a century-old Hindu revivalist movement with a paramilitary component.

Under Modi, India has rescinded the statehood of Kashmir, its only Muslim-majority region, pushed through a citizenship law that critics call discriminatory and witnessed repeated flare-ups of religious violence.

While India often ignores Pakistan's statements, a young Indian diplomat responded from the General Assembly floor.

Sneha Dubey, a first secretary at India's UN mission, accused Pakistan of sheltering and glorifying Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden -- who was killed by US special forces in 2011 -- in the army city of Abbottabad.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-raises-tone-as-pakistan-appeals-to-work-with-taliban/articleshow/86502145.cms

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'Pak has history of supporting terrorists', India slams Imran Khan in its Right of Reply at UNGA

Sep 25, 2021

NEW YORK: India slammed Imran Khan in its Right of Reply in response against Pakistan Prime Prime Minister's references to Kashmir in his United Nations General Assembly virtual speech and stated that Islamabad has an established history of actively supporting terrorists.

Sneha Dubey First Secretary at UNGA said, "Regrettably, this is not the first time the leader of Pakistan has misused platforms provided by the UN to propagate false and malicious propaganda against my country, and seeking in vain to divert the world's attention from the sad state of his country where terrorists enjoy free pass while the lives of ordinary people, especially those belonging to the minority communities, are turned upside down."

"Member States are aware that Pakistan has an established history and policy of harbouring, aiding and actively supporting terrorists. This is a country that has been globally recognized as one openly supporting, training, financing and arming terrorists as a matter of State policy. It holds the ignoble record of hosting the largest number of terrorists proscribed by the UN Security Council," added Dubey.

She slammed Pakistan for bringing up the internal matter of India.

"We exercise our Right of Reply to one more attempt by the leader of Pakistan to tarnish the image of this august forum by bringing in matters internal to my country, and going so far as to spew falsehoods on the world stage," she said.

Khan had addressed the United Nations General Assembly virtually today where he raked up the Kashmir issue during his address.

Asserting that Pakistan desires peace with India, Khan, however, said sustainable peace in South Asia is contingent upon the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

"The onus remains on India to create a conducive environment for meaningful and result-oriented engagement with Pakistan," Khan's statement read.

India's secretary Dubey talking about the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks said, "We marked the solemn occasion of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks a few days back. The world has not forgotten that the mastermind behind that dastardly event, Osama Bin Laden, got shelter in Pakistan. Even today, Pakistan leadership glorify him as a martyr."

Dubey further said, "Regrettably, even today we heard the leader of Pakistan trying to justify acts of terror. Such defence of terrorism is unacceptable in the modern world."

Regarding the Pakistani rhetoric of calling themselves as the "victim of terrorism", she said, "This is the country which is an arsonist disguising itself as a fire-fighter. Pakistan nurtures terrorists in their backyard in the hope that they will only harm their neighbours. Our region, and in fact the entire world, has suffered because of their policies. On the other hand, they are trying to cover up sectarian violence in their country as acts of terror."

She also referred to the 1971 genocide of Bangladesh. She said, "This is also the country that still holds the despicable record in our region of having executed a religious and cultural genocide against the people of what is now Bangladesh. As we mark the 50th anniversary this year of that horrid event in history, there is not even an acknowledgement, much less accountability."

She also slammed Pakistan for suppressing its minority communities.

"Today, the minorities in Pakistan - the Sikhs, Hindus, Christians - live in constant fear and state-sponsored suppression of their rights. This is a regime where anti-Semitism is normalized by its leadership and even justified," added the First Secretary.

"Dissenting voices are muzzled daily and enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings are well documented," she added.

Drawing a parallel between India and Pakistan, she said that India is a pluralistic democracy with a substantial population of minorities who have gone on to hold the highest offices in the country including as President, Prime Minister, Chief Justices and Chiefs of the Army Staff.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pak-has-history-of-supporting-terrorists-india-slams-imran-khan-in-its-right-of-reply-at-unga/articleshow/86500068.cms

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Pakistan

 

Protest lodged with India over targeting of Muslims in India's Assam state

September 25, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The For­eign Office on Friday summoned the Indian Charge d’ Affaires and conveyed Pakistan government’s grave concern over the recent targeting of Muslims in India’s State of Assam, where a brutal eviction drive against the Muslim residents has been launched.

The Indian authorities came under fire on Twitter after a video circulating on social media showed the police opening fire on locals in Assam before a cameraperson pounced on one of the men who had fallen motionless on the ground as a result of the attack.

The video shows policemen firing blindly at unseen targets behind a mass of trees. As a man comes rushing towards them, they round him, attacking him with rods and sticks. As the man collapses to the ground — apparently due to a gunshot — and is lying motionless, a cameraperson runs towards him and repeatedly kicks him and jumps on him.

At least, two people were reported dead in the incident that took place in the Sipajhar area of Assam’s Darrang district, where most residents are Muslims of Bangla origin.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Office in a statement condemned the extrajudicial killing of three men in Uri Sector along the Line of Control in India-held Kashmir. It said the killings were proof of India’s unabated state-terrorism against Kashmiris for decades.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1648249/protest-lodged-with-india-over-targeting-of-muslims-in-indias-assam-state

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Imran Khan paints Pakistan as victim of US' ungratefulness

Sep 25, 2021

NEW YORK: Prime Minister Imran Khan has sought to cast Pakistan as the victim of American ungratefulness and an international double standard in his address to the United Nations General Assembly.

In a prerecorded speech aired Friday evening, the Pakistani prime minister touched on a range of topics that included climate change, global Islamophobia and “the plunder of the developing world by their corrupt elites” — the latter of which he likened to what the East India Company did to India.

It was for India's government that Khan reserved his harshest words, once again labelling Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government “fascist.”

But the cricketer turned posh international celebrity turned politician was in turn indignant and plaintive as he painted the United States as an abandoner of both Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan.

“For the current situation in Afghanistan, for some reason, Pakistan has been blamed for the turn of events, by politicians in the United States and some politicians in Europe,” Khan said. “From this platform, I want them all to know, the country that suffered the most, apart from Afghanistan, was Pakistan when we joined the US war on terror after 9/11.”

He launched into a narrative that began with the United States and Pakistan training mujahedeen — regarded as heroes by the likes of then-President Ronald Reagan, he said — during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. But Pakistan was left to pick up the pieces — millions of refugees and new sectarian militant groups — when the Soviets and the Americans left in 1989.

Khan said the US sanctioned its former partner a year later, but then came calling again after the 9/11 attacks. Khan said Pakistan's aid to the US cost 80,000 Pakistani lives and caused internal strife and dissent directed at the state, all while the US conducted drone attacks.

“So, when we hear this at the end. There is a lot of worry in the US about taking care of the interpreters and everyone who helped the US,” he said, referring to Afghanistan. “What about us?”

Instead of a mere "word of appreciation,” Pakistan has received blame, Khan said.

Despite Khan's rhetoric espousing a desire for peace, many Afghans have blamed Pakistan for the Taliban's resurgence in Afghanistan because of close links.

The United Nations in August also rejected Pakistan's request to give its side at a special meeting on Afghanistan, indicating the international community's shared skepticism.

In his speech, Khan echoed what his foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, told The Associated Press earlier this week on the sidelines at the UN: the international community should not isolate the Taliban, but instead strengthen the current Afghan government for the sake of the people.

He struck an optimistic tone about Taliban rule, saying their leaders had committed to human rights, an inclusive government and not allowing terrorists on Afghan soil. But messages from the Taliban have been mixed.

A Taliban founder told the AP earlier this week that the hard-liners would once again carry out executions and amputated hands — though this time after adjudication by judges, including women, and potentially not in public.

“If the world community incentivises them, and encourages them to walk this talk, it will be a win-win situation for everyone,” he said.

Khan also turned his ire on that same community for what he perceives as a free pass given to India.

“It is unfortunate, very unfortunate, that the world's approach to violations of human rights lacks even-handedness, and even is selective. Geopolitical considerations, or corporate interests, commercial interests often compel major powers to overlook the transgressions of their affiliated countries,” Khan said.

He went through a litany of actions that have “unleashed a reign of fear and violence against India's 200 million strong Muslim community", including lynchings, pogroms and "discriminatory" citizenship laws.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/imran-khan-paints-pakistan-as-victim-of-us-ungratefulness/articleshow/86499116.cms

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6 suspected terrorists killed in encounter with Pakistani security forces

Sep 25, 2021

KARACHI: Six suspected terrorists, including two top tier commanders, have been killed in a security operation in Pakistan's restive Balochistan province.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement that the intelligence based operation was launched Friday by the paramilitary Balochistan Frontier Corps after getting confirmed information about the presence of terrorists in a hideout near Kharan district.

The statement said that as soon as the FC soldiers entered and cordoned off the area, the terrorists opened fire and tried to flee from their hideout.

"As soon as (the) troops cordoned the area, the terrorists opened fire to flee from the hideout," it said.

The statement said that after intense exchange of fire, six terrorists, including commanders Gul Mir alias Pullen and Kaleemullah Bolani were killed.

“A large cache of arms and ammunition was also recovered from the area,” it said.

Source: Times of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/6-suspected-terrorists-killed-in-encounter-with-pakistani-security-forces/articleshow/86498969.cms

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In meeting with UN chief, Qureshi calls for 'urgent action' on humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

Naveed Siddiqui

September 25, 2021

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi met UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Friday and stressed "urgent action" to address the humanitarian crisis in war-torn Afghanistan, according to a statement issued by the Foreign Office (FO).

"Qureshi underscored the need for urgent action to address the prevailing dire humanitarian situation in [the] country, calling for the continued political and economic engagement of the international community to end [the] decades-long conflict," the statement said.

It added that the foreign minister also highlighted Pakistan’s ongoing efforts to address the humanitarian situation and those aimed at achieving lasting peace and stability in the neighbouring country.

Moreover, the statement said, Qureshi briefed Guterres on the "deteriorating human rights" situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir and shared with him a "comprehensive dossier containing evidence of gross, systematic, and widespread human rights violations, war crimes, crime against humanity and genocide being perpetrated by Indian occupation forces" in the valley.

Qureshi also expressed hope that the UN would play its role in ensuring that the people of occupied Kashmir were able to "exercise their inalienable right to self-determination as enshrined in the relevant UN resolutions".

According to the statement, the minister called for making the UN Security Council (UNSC) "more representative, democratic, transparent, effective and accountable to address the multiple challenges" faced by the world.

He emphasised that reforms must be decided by consensus and member states must be allowed the necessary time and space to evolve a solution acceptable to the entire UN membership, the statement said.

Qureshi also called for the need for stemming the rising tide of Islamophobia, ending vaccine inequity, and ensuring adequate financing for developing countries to respond to the pandemic and the resulting economic crisis.

After the meeting, Qureshi briefly shared the the details of his talk with Guterres in a tweet.

"Great to meet Antonio Guterres at UNGA and share Pakistan’s key priorities: equitable socio-economic development, stabilisation of Afghanistan and just resolution of Jammu and Kashmir dispute," he tweeted.

"We look to the UN to play central role in addressing and overcoming these challenges."

According to the FO, the foreign minister also met the president of the 76th Session of the general assembly, Abdulla Shahid, on the day and congratulated him on his election to the position.

Qureshi expressed the hope that Shahid's presence in this important office would help with making progress on important issues on the UN agenda.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1648358/in-meeting-with-un-chief-qureshi-calls-for-urgent-action-on-humanitarian-crisis-in-afghanistan

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Pakistan concerned about Afghan terror threat: PM Imran

September 25, 2021

KARACHI: While expressing the desire to promote a comprehensive, not selective, approach to neutralising terrorists’ threats from Afghanistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan has highlighted the need for international community’s cooperation to help in stabilising the country by addressing humanitarian crisis and supporting its economic recovery.

Afghanistan faced a difficult transition from the past 20 years of a US-Nato supported governance structure, PM Khan said in a wide-ranging interview with Newsweek.

Since the Taliban seemed to have gained control over the entire country for the first time, there was a hope that security could be established across Afghanistan, he said. “A peaceful Afghanistan will be beneficial for Pakistan, opening up possibilities for trade and development projects,” he remarked. But Afghanistan faced a humanitarian crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic, conflict, and failures of the previous governments, which must be addressed as a priority, he said.

“Also, we need to work with the authorities in Kabul to neutralise terrorists’ groups present in Afgha­nistan, particularly the TTP [Tehr­eek-i-Taliban Pakistan], which has been responsible for thousands of terrorist attacks against Pakistan,” the prime minister said.

In response to a question, PM Khan said there was indeed a plethora of terrorist groups which, taking advantage of the conflict in Afghanistan, located themselves in that country. Pakistan was extre­mely concerned about the threat of terrorism from Afghanistan, particularly from the TTP, which had conducted thousands of attacks against Pakistan from the territory of Afghanistan with the sponsorship and support of “certain hostile intelligence agencies”.

The TTP, he said, had also been responsible for most of the attacks on Chinese citizens working in Pakistan, perhaps with the support of the East Turkestan Islamic Mov­e­ment. Pakistan would work with the authorities in Afgha­nistan to halt the TTP’s and other terrorism from Afghanistan, he added.

During the Doha peace process, PM Khan recalled, the US established a working relationship with the Taliban. There was direct cooperation between the US and the Taliban during the evacuation process, he said. “I believe that the US can work with a new government in Afghanistan to promote common interests and regional stability.”

He said if China offered economic support to Afghanistan, it was natural that the Afghans would accept it. The Taliban welcomed the prospects of being incorporated in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and establishing close relations with China, he added.

PM Khan said the US, too, could play an important and positive role in Afghanistan by providing huma­nitarian assistance, contributing to Afghanistan’s recovery and reconstruction, and cooperating in containing terrorism from Afghanistan.

Asked if there was concern that Pakistan could be caught up in the broader US-China rivalry, Mr Khan said Pakistan’s relationship with China was 70 years old, covering eco­nomic, technological, military and other sectors. Throughout this time, Pakistan simultaneously mai­n­tained a close relationship with the US as well. He said it was Pakis­tan that first brought the US and China together in 1971. “We see no reason for our strategic partnership with China to erode our ability to continue a cooperative relationship with the United States,” he said.

The prime minister believed the current US-China rivalry was “unnecessary and contrary to the interests of both these global powers”. He said cooperation between them would be beneficial to both and was essential to address the myriad problems the world faced — the Covid-19 pandemic, the economic crisis in the developing world and the existential threat of climate change. “We hope that both Beijing and Washington will reach the same conclusion in the near future,” he said.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1648263/pakistan-concerned-about-afghan-terror-threat-pm-imran

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6 terrorists including 2 commanders killed in Kharan operation: ISPR

September 24, 2021

Six alleged terrorists including two commanders were killed in an intelligence-based operation in Balochistan's Kharan district, the military's media wing said on Friday.

The operation was launched by the paramilitary Balochistan Frontier Corps on "confirmed intelligence about the presence of terrorists in a hideout near Kharan", the Inter-Services Public Relations statement said.

"As soon as [the] troops cordoned the area, the terrorists opened fire to flee from the hideout," it added.

During an intense exchange of fire that ensued, six terrorists including commanders Gul Mir alias Pullen and Kaleemullah Bolani were killed.

A large cache of arms and ammunition was also recovered from the area, according to the ISPR.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1648199/6-terrorists-including-2-commanders-killed-in-kharan-operation-ispr

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South Asia

 

It's almost certain Afghanistan's Taliban won't speak at UN

Sep 25, 2021

UNITED NATIONS: It's almost certain that Afghanistan's Taliban rulers won't get to speak at this year's U.N. General Assembly meeting of world leaders.

The Taliban challenged the credentials of the ambassador from Afghanistan's former government, which they ousted on Aug. 15, and asked to represent the country at the assembly's high-level General Debate. It began Tuesday and ends Monday, with Afghanistan's representative as the final speaker.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that as of Friday, Afghanistan's currently recognized U.N. ambassador, Ghulam Isaczai, who represents former president Ashraf Ghani's now ousted government, is listed as speaking for the country.

The key reason is that the General Assembly committee which decides on credentials challenges has not met, and is highly unlikely to meet over the weekend.

Assembly spokeswoman Monica Grayley said Wednesday the nine-member committee generally meets in November and will issue a ruling ``in due course.''

The Taliban, who overran most of Afghanistan last month as U.S. and NATO forces were in the final stages of their chaotic withdrawal from the country after 20 years, argue that they are now in charge and have the right to appoint ambassadors.

In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the Taliban's newly appointed foreign minister, Ameer Khan Muttaqi, said Ghani was ``ousted'' as of Aug. 15 and that countries across the world ``no longer recognize him as president.''

Therefore, Muttaqi said, Isaczai no longer represents Afghanistan and the Taliban was nominating a new U.N. permanent representative, Mohammad Suhail Shaheen. He was a spokesman for the Taliban during peace negotiations in Qatar.

``We have all the requirements needed for recognition of a government,'' Shaheen told The Associated Press on Wednesday. ``So we hope the U.N., as a neutral world body, recognize the current government of Afghanistan.''

When the Taliban last ruled from 1996 to 2001, the U.N. refused to recognize their government and instead gave Afghanistan's seat to the previous, warlord-dominated government of President Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was killed by a suicide bomber in 2011. It was Rabbani's government that brought Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of 9/11, to Afghanistan from Sudan in 1996.

The Taliban have said they want international recognition and financial help to rebuild the war-battered country. But the makeup of the new Taliban government poses a dilemma for the United Nations. Several of the interim ministers -- including Muttaqi -- are on the U.N.'s so-called blacklist of international terrorists and funders of terrorism.

Source: Times of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/its-almost-certain-afghanistans-taliban-wont-speak-at-un/articleshow/86499058.cms

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US grants licenses for more aid flow to Afghanistan despite sanctions

Sep 24, 2021

WASHINGTON: The United States on Friday further paved the way for aid to flow to Afghanistan despite US sanctions on the Taliban, who seized control of the country last month, issuing general licenses amid concern that Washington's punitive measures could compound an unfolding humanitarian crisis.

The US Treasury Department said it issued two general licenses, one allowing the US government, NGOs and certain international organizations, including the United Nations, to engage in transactions with the Taliban or Haqqani Network - both under sanctions - that are necessary to provide humanitarian assistance.

The second license authorizes certain transactions related to the export and re-export of food, medicine and medical devices.

"Treasury is committed to facilitating the flow of humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan and other activities that support their basic human needs," Andrea Gacki, director of the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, said in the statement.

She added that Washington will continue to work with financial institutions, NGOs and international organizations to ease the flow of agricultural goods, medicine and other resources while upholding sanctions on the Taliban, Haqqani Network and others.

The United Nations said that at the start of the year more than 18 million people - about half of Afghanistan's population - require aid amid the second drought in four years.

UN. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said last week that Afghanistan is on "the verge of a dramatic humanitarian disaster" and has decided to engage the Taliban in order to help the country's people.

US President Joe Biden's administration has said it is committed to allowing humanitarian work in Afghanistan to continue despite Washington listing the Taliban as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist group.

The sanctions freeze any US assets of the Islamist militant group and bar Americans from dealing with them, including the contribution of funds, goods or services.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/us-grants-licenses-for-more-aid-flow-to-afghanistan-despite-sanctions/articleshow/86489238.cms

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Multiple blasts: Three bodies found in Afghanistan's Jalalabad

Sep 24, 2021

KABUL: Three bodies were found in the city of Jalalabad in Nangarhar province in Afghanistan on Friday morning, local media reported.

All the deceased were taken to the hospital, according to eyewitnesses.

"Three bodies were found in the city of Jalalabad in Nangarhar on Friday morning and were taken to the hospital, eyewitnesses said. Local officials did not comment about the incident," TOLO News said tweet.

On Wednesday, the eastern province of Nangarhar witnessed multiple attacks in Jalalabad city resulting in the death of five persons, as per TOLO News.

Source: Times of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/multiple-blasts-three-bodies-found-in-afghanistans-jalalabad/articleshow/86478575.cms

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Afghan Taliban defence minister orders crackdown on abuses

Sep 24, 2021

PESHAWAR: The Taliban's new defence minister has issued a rebuke over misconduct by some commanders and fighters following the movement's victory over the Western-backed government in Afghanistan last month, saying abuses would not be tolerated.

Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob said in an audio message that some "miscreants and notorious former soldiers" had been allowed to join Taliban units where they had committed a range of sometimes violent abuses.

"We direct you keep them out of your ranks, otherwise strict action will be taken against you," he stated. "We don't want such people in our ranks."

The message from one of the Taliban's most senior ministers underlines the problems Afghanistan's new rulers have sometimes had in controlling fighting forces as they transition from an insurgency to a peacetime administration.

Some Kabul residents have complained of abusive treatment at the hands of Taliban fighters who have appeared on the streets of the capital, often from other regions and unused to big cities.

There have also been reports of reprisals against members of the former government and military or civil society activists, despite promises of an amnesty by the Taliban.

Yaqoob said there had been isolated reports of unauthorized executions, and he repeated that such actions would not be tolerated.

"As you all are aware, under the general amnesty announced in Afghanistan, no mujahid has the right to take revenge on anyone," he said.

Source: Times of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/afghan-taliban-defence-minister-orders-crackdown-on-abuses/articleshow/86477486.cms

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People protest in Kabul against US over frozen assets

24 Sep 2021

Hundreds of people took to the streets of Kabul on Friday, September 24, and protested against the US and the international community over nearly ten billion dollars of Afghanistan now frozen in the US banks.

The all-male protest was well protected by the Taliban fighters and was staged in the middle of Kabul city.

Protesters asked the United States and the United Nations to unfreeze the assets of the people of Afghanistan to avert a looming humanitarian crisis in the country.

They accused the US of violating human rights and of waging an economic war against the people of Afghanistan after they were so-called defeated in Afghanistan.

The slogans carried by the protestors read that the ordinary Afghan people should pay the price of the defeat of America.

The United States has frozen over $9.4 billion of the central bank of Afghanistan among them over 3 billion dollars belong to the private sector of the country.

Source: Khaama Press

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https://www.khaama.com/people-protest-in-kabul-against-us-over-frozen-assets-457474/

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Bangladesh eyes more EU action for Rohingya return to Myanmar

SM Najmus Sakib 

25.09.2021

Bangladesh is urging the EU to take a more active role in ensuring conditions for the return of more than a million Rohingya refugees who fled from neighboring Myanmar, according to a statement on Saturday.

The roughly 1.1 million Rohingya that Bangladesh is currently hosting in refugee camps in the southern district of Cox's Bazar for humanitarian reasons have become a heavy burden on the South Asian country, Foreign Minister A. K. Abdul Momen told EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, said the Foreign Ministry statement.

In the meeting held on Thursday, Momen requested that the EU take more effective measures to create a conducive environment in Myanmar for the sustainable repatriation of the Rohingya, who had fled Rakhine State in Myanmar following a brutal military crackdown in August 2017.

He explained that sheltering such a large population had been "putting enormous social, economic and environmental costs for Bangladesh."

For his part, Borell thanked Bangladesh for its humanitarian efforts for the Rohingya and assured him that the EU would "work with Bangladesh and the international community to ensure sustainable repatriation of the Rohingya," the statement added.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/bangladesh-eyes-more-eu-action-for-rohingya-return-to-myanmar/2374596

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Europe

 

UN updates Syria war death toll, says 350,000 'certainly an undercount'

Peter Kenny

24.09.2021

GENEVA

More than 350,000 people have been killed in over 10 years of conflict in Syria, but the tally is “certainly an undercount,” the United Nations human rights chief said on Friday.

“We have compiled a list of 350,209 identified individuals killed in the conflict in Syria between March 2011 to March 2021,” Michelle Bachelet told the UN Human Rights Council.

This was the UN rights office’s first update on the Syrian conflict’s death toll since August 2014, when the tally stood at 191,369.

“But it is not – and should not be seen as – a complete number of conflict-related killings in Syria. It indicates a minimum verifiable number, and is certainly an under-count of the actual number of killings,” said Bachelet.

Over one in every 13 was a woman – 26,727 in all – almost one in every 13 was a child – 27,126 children, to be exact, she said.

“Behind each recorded death was a human being, born free and equal, in dignity and rights,” she added.

“We must always make victims’ stories visible, both individually and collectively, because the injustice and horror of each of these deaths should compel us to action.”

Highest toll in Aleppo

The greatest number of documented killings – 51,731 – was in the northwestern Aleppo governorate, the UN official said.

“Other areas with heavy death tolls were rural Damascus, with 47,483 deaths; Homs, with 40,986 deaths; Idlib, with 33,271 deaths; Hama, 31,993 deaths; and Tartus, which lost 31,369 people,” Bachelet said.

“Documenting the identity of and circumstances in which people have died is key to the effective realization of a range of fundamental human rights – to know the truth, to seek accountability, and to pursue effective remedies.”

It can also facilitate survivors’ access to education, health care, and property, she added.

“Documenting deaths is directly complementary to efforts to account for missing people,” she explained.

“In the context of Syria, we have been assisting families of missing people to effectively engage with international human rights mechanisms.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/un-updates-syria-war-death-toll-says-350-000-certainly-an-undercount/2374408

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Turkey's Diyanet religious body threatens secularism

24.09.2021

Ali Erbas heads Diyanet, Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs. He is known for his deeply conservative interpretation of Islam, which many Turks see as anachronistic. Indeed, Erbas blames homosexual and adulterers for the coronavirus pandemic. And he is known for many more highly controversial statements. Erbas has run Diyanet since 2017 and his influence on Turkish society is growing.

Erbas led the ceremony to reopen Haghia Sophia mosque in July 2020delivering the Friday sermon with a sword in hand — a symbol harking back to Ottoman times. Many ordinary Turks took offense, deeming it an affront to republican values.

Quran lessons for preschoolers

Since then, Erbas has become a prominent mouthpiece for Turkey's conservatives forces. Diyanet has suggested four to six-year-olds should take compulsory Quran lessons before starting school.

The religious body announced it would soon be consulting the Education Ministry and researchers to pursue the plan. Many Turks, meanwhile, reject the move — not least because Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly called for a "religious generation" to be raised, indoctrinated with conservative Islamic values.

Diyanet is expanding its influence into the digital world, too. It has published a document on "ethics in social media," urging Islamic law to be applied to cases of online abuse that may only be insufficiently addressed by secular law. Erdogan has long sought to further regulate social media and supports Diyanet's efforts.

Not long ago, Erbas and Erdogan attended a swearing-in ceremony for new judges at Ankara's Court of Cassation. The event was launched by a sermon held by the Diyanet head. It was the first time in Turkish history that such a judicial ceremony was accompanied by a religious service.

Laicism under threat?

Turkish opposition figures and liberals are troubled by Diyanet's growing presence in everyday life. They worry that secularism and laicism is under threat in Turkey. Erbas, meanwhile, has defended the role of Diyanet, saying that "as a leader, you must have a say everywhere […] why should our faith not be felt in the heart of society?" He has also underscored that Islam should guide all aspects of life, including the judiciary.

Burcu Karakas, a journalist and Diyanet expert, is concerned by the body's growing influence. "Ali Erbas' statement shows that the government is trying to regulate the public realm by marshalling religion," says Karakas. "Diyanet was originally tasked with staging religious services only, but it has taken even ever more jobs […] the government is waging war on secularism; Diyanet is playing a key role in this war."

Source: DW

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https://www.dw.com/en/turkeys-diyanet-religious-body-threatens-secularism/a-59289180

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West's failure in Afghanistan no cause for schadenfreude: German president

Oliver Towfigh Nia 

24.09.2021

BERLIN

Germany’s president on Friday acknowledged that the West had failed in Afghanistan following last month’s takeover by the Taliban, but warned others against rejoicing over the failure as the “developments threaten us all.”

“Yes, we failed on many things in Afghanistan. But our failure should not be cause for schadenfreude for others,” Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in his address at the UN General Assembly in New York.

“I am deliberately using this German word that has made its way into many languages: schadenfreude. A mindset in which loss to one is gain to another fails to do justice to the reality of our interconnected world.”

He emphasized that the world needs to collectively respond to a range of pressing challenges.

“Regional instability, weakening state structures, refugee and migrant flows, religious extremism and terrorism, and new forms of conflict – hybrid, digital, environmental and resource-based. Such developments threaten us all and we all have to deal with them. Small and large alike,” Steinmeier said.

He lamented that the West was not able to help create a genuine popular Afghan government that could stand on its own feet.

“The fall of Kabul marks a turning point. We achieved our goal of defeating those who wrought horrendous terror on this city [New York] 20 years ago. But despite immense endeavor and investment, we were not able in two decades to establish a self-sustaining political order in Afghanistan,” he said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/wests-failure-in-afghanistan-no-cause-for-schadenfreude-german-president/2374360

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‘Hundreds of thousands of migrant children missing in Europe’

Sefa Mutlu  

24.09.2021

Hundreds of thousands of migrant and refugee children are missing in Europe, with no one knowing what happened to them, according to a member of the Turkish delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency on Friday, Serap Yasar said migration has been a hot topic around the world since 2011 and the recent situation in Afghanistan shows it will be on the agenda in the future as well.

“These are migrations caused by wars, terrorism, and internal turmoil. We should also not underestimate the migration caused by climate change," she said, adding that it should gain more global attention to move toward a solution.

Report on missing children

“We released our report on Missing Migrant and Refugee Children in Europe at the Council of Europe in January 2020, which was passed unanimously by the deputies of 47 countries registered in the Council of Europe," Yasar said.

"According to the report, hundreds of thousands of children are missing in Europe. It's unclear what happened to them. I want to highlight the number: hundreds of thousands of children."

“Sometimes the figure seems large, but I did not make this up. This went into UN reports. This was determined in the Council of Europe and finally in my report, with the decision numbered 2,324. At least one MP from 47 countries participated in this vote and they are aware of the situation. They probably carried it into their own parliaments as well,” she added.

Yasar said they did not only identify the problem, but also offered solutions in the report.

She said the COVID-19 pandemic started after their report, and the world's agenda shifted to other issues.

“It is our duty to protect these children in any case. It is their right to be protected. They are children first, and then migrants and refugees. For every missing child, everyone who knows is responsible. First of all, states have an obligation to protect them,” she said.

Europol notices

The European Police Organization (Europol) has yellow and black notices for missing and dead children respectively, said Yasar, adding the migrant children were not included in any of these categories.

“Let's say most of these children are orphans – unaccompanied, no parents with them. The European legal system for orphans does not apply to these children. These children also have the same rights as your own citizens, the right to benefit from this protection,” she said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

 https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/-hundreds-of-thousands-of-migrant-children-missing-in-europe-/2374133

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North America

 

US, Pakistan face each other again on Afghanistan threats

Sep 25, 2021

WASHINGTON: The Taliban's takeover of Kabul has deepened the mutual distrust between the US and Pakistan, two putative allies who have tangled over Afghanistan. But both sides still need each other.

With the Biden administration looking for new ways to stop terrorist threats in Afghanistan, it will likely look again to Pakistan, which remains critical to US intelligence and national security because of its proximity to Afghanistan and connections to the Taliban leaders now in charge.

Over two decades of war, American officials accused Pakistan of playing a double game by promising to fight terrorism and cooperate with Washington while cultivating the Taliban and other extremist groups that attacked U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Islamabad, meanwhile, pointed to what it saw as failed promises of a supportive government in Kabul after the U.S. drove the Taliban from power following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks as extremist groups took refuge in eastern Afghanistan and launched deadly attacks throughout Pakistan.

But the U.S. wants Pakistani cooperation in counterterrorism efforts and could seek permission to fly surveillance flights into Afghanistan or other intelligence cooperation. And Pakistan wants US military aid and good relations with Washington, even as its leaders openly celebrate the Taliban's rise to power.

``Over the last 20 years, Pakistan has been vital for various logistics purposes for the US military. What's really been troubling is that, unfortunately, there hasn't been a lot of trust,'' said U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, an Illinois Democrat who sits on the House Intelligence Committee. ``I think the question is whether we can get over that history to arrive at a new understanding.''

Former diplomats and intelligence officers from both countries say the possibilities for cooperation are severely limited by the events of the last two decades and Pakistan's enduring competition with India. The previous Afghan government, which was strongly backed by New Delhi, routinely accused Pakistan of harboring the Taliban. The new Taliban government includes officials that American officials have long believed are linked to Pakistan's spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence.

Husain Haqqani, a former Pakistani ambassador to the US, said he understood ``the temptation of officials in both countries to try and take advantage of the situation'' and find common ground. But Haqqani said he expected Pakistan to give ``all possible cooperation to the Taliban.''

``This has been a moment Pakistan has been waiting for 20 years,'' said Haqqani, now at the Hudson Institute think tank. ``They now feel that they have a satellite state.``

US officials are trying to quickly build what President Joe Biden calls an ``over the horizon'' capacity to monitor and stop terrorist threats.

Without a partner country bordering Afghanistan, the U.S. has to fly surveillance drones long distances, limiting the time they can be used to watch over targets. The US also lost most of its network of informants and intelligence partners in the now-deposed Afghan government, making it critical to find common ground with other governments that have more resources in the country.

Pakistan could be helpful in that effort by allowing ``overflight'' rights for American spy planes from the Persian Gulf or permitting the U.S. to base surveillance or counterterrorism teams along its border with Afghanistan. There are few other options among Afghanistan's neighbors. Iran is a U.S. adversary. And Central Asian countries north of Afghanistan all face varying degrees of Russian influence.

There are no known agreements so far. CIA Director William Burns visited Islamabad earlier this month to meet with Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, Pakistan's army chief, and Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed, who leads the ISI, according to a Pakistani government statement. Burns and Hameed have also separately visited Kabul in recent weeks to meet with Taliban leaders. The CIA declined to comment on the visits.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi noted this week that Islamabad had cooperated with U.S. requests to facilitate peace talks before the Taliban takeover and that it had agreed to U.S. military requests throughout the war.

``We have often been criticized for not doing enough,'' Qureshi told The Associated Press on Wednesday. ``But we've not been appreciated enough for having done what was done.''

Qureshi would not directly answer whether Pakistan would allow the basing of surveillance equipment or overflight of drones.

``They don't have to be physically there to share intelligence," he said of the U.S. "There are smarter ways of doing it.``

The CIA and ISI have a long history in Afghanistan, dating back to their shared goal of arming bands of mujahedeen - ``freedom fighters'' - against the Soviet Union's occupation in the 1980s. The CIA sent weapons and money into Afghanistan through Pakistan.

Those fighters included Osama bin Laden. Others would become leaders of the Taliban, which emerged victorious from a civil war in 1996 and gained control of most of the country. The Taliban gave refuge to bin Laden and other leaders of al-Qaida, which launched deadly attacks on Americans abroad in 1998 and then struck the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001.

After 9/11, the U.S. immediately sought Pakistan's cooperation in its fight against al-Qaida and other terrorist groups. Declassified cables published by George Washington University's National Security Archive show officials in President George W. Bush's administration made several demands of Pakistan, from intercepting arms shipments heading to al-Qaida to providing the U.S. with intelligence and permission to fly military and intelligence planes over its territory.

The CIA would carry out hundreds of drone strikes launched from Pakistan targeting al-Qaida leaders and others alleged to have ties to terrorist groups. Hundreds of civilians died in the strikes, according to figures kept by outside observers, leading to widespread protests and public anger in Pakistan.

Pakistan, meanwhile, continued to be accused of harboring the Taliban after the US-backed coalition drove the group from power in Kabul. And bin Laden was killed in 2011 by U.S. special forces in a secret raid on a compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, home to the country's military academy. The bin Laden operation led many in the U.S. to question whether Pakistan had harbored bin Laden and angered Pakistanis who felt the raid violated their sovereignty.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/us-pakistan-face-each-other-again-on-afghanistan-threats/articleshow/86501629.cms

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Iran must ‘move quickly’ if it wants to resume nuclear deal talks: US official

24 September ,2021

Tehran needs to “move quickly” if it wants to resume talks on the Iran nuclear deal, a senior State Department official said Friday.

“Our commitment to doing this is not indefinite. Because at a certain time, the JCPOA is no longer going to convey the non-proliferation benefits that it once did. So, we call on the Iranians to move quickly, meet us in Vienna,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Joey Hood said.

Speaking to Al Arabiya, Hood suggested that the nuclear deal talks needed to include Iran’s ballistic missile program and its militias around the region.

“We also need to address the concerns that we and many countries in the region and around the world have with Iran’s destabilizing activities through promoting and funding and arming militias … as well as attacking commercial shipping and so on,” Hood said.

Asked if the Vienna talks being linked to Iran’s destabilizing behavior were delaying progress, Hood said: “You have to ask the Iranians why there’s no progress because we’re waiting on them to return to Vienna.”

“We see it [Iran’s nuclear program, ballistic missile program and support for militias] altogether, because Iran is engaged in destabilizing and destructive activities, and if it were to gain a nuclear weapon, it would be even more dangerous than before. So, we need to get the nuclear program back into a clearly civilian track, and we need to also make sure that we address these concerns of the international community,” the US diplomat said.

Yemen

Turning to Yemen, Hood said the US was willing to impose sanctions on the Iran-backed Houthis.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/09/24/Iran-must-move-quickly-if-it-wants-to-resume-nuclear-deal-talks-US-official

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White House dispatching special envoy to Sudan to reaffirm US support

24 September ,2021

US President Joe Biden is dispatching his envoy to the Horn of Africa to reaffirm Washington’s support for Sudan, the White House announced Friday.

National Security Advisor Sullivan informed Sudanese PM Abdalla Hamdok during a phone call in which the US official voiced the Biden administration’s commitment to support the civilian-led transition to democracy in Sudan.

Sullivan “highlighted that US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman will travel to Sudan next week to reaffirm US support for the civilian-led transition and discuss regional security challenges,” a statement from the White House read.

The pair also discussed the importance of the transitional government making “continued progress to stabilize the economy, reform the security sector under civilian leadership, advance Sudan’s peace process, and ensure justice and accountability for past abuses.”

Biden is expected to welcome Hamdok at the White House in the “near future,” according to Friday’s statement.

A senior US official said Feltman was not scheduled to visit any other countries during his trip.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/09/24/White-House-dispatching-special-envoy-to-Sudan-to-reaffirm-US-support

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US Treasury facilitates humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan

Ovunc Kutlu 

25.09.2021

The US Treasury Department has issued general licenses and guidance to facilitate humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, it said in a statement.

The department said in a press release on Friday that its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued two general licenses "to support the continued flow of humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan and other activities that support basic human needs in Afghanistan."

The move was meant to ensure that US sanctions "do not limit the ability of civilians located in Afghanistan to receive humanitarian support" from the US and the international community, while denying assets to the Taliban and other sanctioned entities and individuals.

"Treasury will continue to work with financial institutions, international organizations, and the non-governmental organization community to ease the flow of critical resources, like agricultural goods, medicine, and other essential supplies, to people in need, while upholding and enforcing our sanctions against the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and other sanctioned entities," said OFAC Director Andrea M. Gacki.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-treasury-facilitates-humanitarian-assistance-in-afghanistan/2374684

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Hunter Biden reportedly sought over $2M to help unfreeze Libya assets

Michael Hernandez  

24.09.2021

WASHINGTON

Hunter Biden, the son of US President Joe Biden, sought over $2 million in fees to help unfreeze billions of dollars in Libyan assets while his father served as the number two in the Obama administration, according to a recently published report.

The junior Biden sought $2 million annually in 2015 plus what is described in leaked email correspondence as "success fees," Business Insider reported on Thursday. The disclosure was made in an email from Democratic donor Sam Jauhari to fellow Obama campaign donor and Saudi tycoon Sheikh Mohammed al-Rahbani.

"He wants to hire his own people - it can be close circle of people for confidentiality. His dad is deciding to run or not," Jauhari wrote in the alleged email as Joe Biden mulled a 2016 presidential run, which he ultimately decided against. "He said he has access to highest level in PRC [China], he can help there."

China was reportedly a major obstacle to unfreezing the assets.

The Libyan funds were locked under former President Barack Obama after the NATO-led ouster of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, and the subsequent collapse of the country's government.

"His positives are he is Chairman of UN World Food Program, son of #2 who has Libya file, access to State, Treasury, business partner SofS [Secretary of State] J. [John] Forbes K [Kerry] son and since he travels with dad he is connected everywhere in Europe and Asia where M. Q. [Muammar Qaddafi] and LIA [Libya Investment Authority] had money frozen," Jauhari wrote of Hunter Biden.

"His negatives are that he is alcoholic, drug addict - kicked [out] of U.S. Army for cocaine, chasing low class hookers, constantly needs money-liquidity problems and many more headaches," he added.

Jauhari was not acting altruistically, according to Business Insider. He and his business partners sought up to 5% of the funds that they ultimately were able to unlock, which the news website said would have amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/hunter-biden-reportedly-sought-over-2m-to-help-unfreeze-libya-assets/2374294

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Africa

 

Suicide bombing near military headquarters in Somali capital

Mohammed Dhaysane  

24.09.2021

MOGADISHU, Somalia

A suicide bomber blew himself up near a Somali military headquarters in the capital Mogadishu on Friday afternoon, police said.

The attack hit the area near Villa Baidoa, the Somali military's second headquarters in Mogadishu.

No casualties were reported from the attack, according to Somali police.

"At around 15.03 p.m. (1203GMT), a suicide bomber blew himself up between Madina Hospital and Villa Baidoa. There were no casualties, except for the suicide bomber," police spokesman Abdifatah Adan Hassan said in a statement.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/suicide-bombing-near-military-headquarters-in-somali-capital/2374136

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Mozambicans return to uncertain future after Islamists pushed back

By Baz Ratner and Shafiek Tassiem

September 25, 2021

PALMA, Mozambique Sept 24 (Reuters) - (This Sept. 24 story corrects to make clear Kagame said troops would stay as long as Mozambique requests, not until Oct. 9 in paragraph 5)

Rwandan forces will help secure and rebuild areas of northern Mozambique destroyed by an Islamist insurgency, Rwanda's President Paul Kagame said on Friday, as Mozambican officials began encouraging civilians to return to the gas-rich region.

The United Nations has warned of a continuing militant threat in Cabo Delgado, where Rwandan forces are patrolling burnt-out streets once besieged by the militants.

Kagame told a joint news conference in Maputo with his Mozambican counterpart Filipe Nyusi that Rwandan troops would help secure and rebuild the areas destroyed by the insurgency.

"The mission of Rwandan troops in Mozambique continues," he said. "The new action should be to guarantee security in the liberated areas until the reconstruction is finished."

Kagame said the troops would stay as long as Mozambique requests.

Nyusi thanked Rwanda for helping fix what had been destroyed by "terrorists".

Allied Rwandan-Mozambican troops moved in to recapture parts of northern Cabo Delgado - an area hosting $60 billion worth of gas projects that the militants have been attacking since 2017 - in July. read more

A day earlier, soldiers had laid out rifles and rocket launchers seized from the Islamist fighters, who Mozambique's government has said are on the run.

Some local officials have encouraged civilians to return, according to media reports, and the Rwandan military's spokesman said 25,000 people had been brought home. "It is very safe for them to go back," Ronald Rwivanga told Reuters on Thursday.

But United Nations officials are not so sure.

A document compiled in September for U.N. agencies and other aid groups, seen by Reuters, said it was not clear whether militant capabilities had been much reduced. "Fighting continues in certain locations and civilian authorities have not been re-established," it added.

Children played in the streets of the town of Palma on Thursday and vendors sold goods from kiosks, six months after the militants attacked the settlement, killing dozens and forcing tens of thousands to flee.

But 60 km south in the port of Mocimboa da Praia - a hub needed for cargo deliveries for the gas projects - the streets were largely deserted, flanked by windowless, rubble-strewn buildings and overturned military vehicles.

Graffiti, using a local name for the militant group, read: "If you want to make Al-Shabaab laugh, threaten them with death."

"THE WAR THAT REMAINS IS HUNGER"

Aside from the Rwandans, a contingent of forces from the regional bloc, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is also patrolling northern Cabo Delgado.

Rwivanga said the Rwandans had been moving civilians back into the area they control around a $20 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project run by oil major TotalEnergies , which was forced to a halt by the Palma attack.

Source: Reuters

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

https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/mozambicans-return-uncertain-future-after-islamists-pushed-back-2021-09-24/?rpc=401&

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Sudan needs new date for civilian leadership handover: Sovereign Council

25 September ,2021

The date for the handover of the leadership of Sudan's highest authority, the Transitional Sovereign Council, from the military to civilians is still unclear and requires discussion and a new legal decree, said a civilian member on Friday.

A failed coup attempt on Tuesday laid bare the tensions between the two sides who make up the 11-member Sovereign Council following a sensitive power-sharing agreement in 2019 and has for the first time brought public controversy over when the current council head is replaced.

Council member and former journalist Mohamed Al-Faki Suleiman described the relationship between civilian and military council members as “unwell” in an interview on state television, noting that joint meetings on various topics have become unproductive in recent weeks.

Renewed political discussions and a decree from the Justice Ministry were needed to decide a handover date, he said.

In a speech on Wednesday, current council head General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan criticized Suleiman and other civilian leaders. Al-Burhan described the military as a guardian for the transition, a description Suleiman rejected.

“The goal of this is to produce a political situation where the military component is dominant and that is unacceptable,” Suleiman said, adding that military members need to become comfortable with the discussion and criticism inherent to politics.

The country's constitutional declaration, signed following a 2018-2019 uprising that resulted in the removal of former President Omar al-Bashir, set a date for handover of leadership of the Sovereign Council for May 2021. However, a peace agreement signed in October reset the clock on the transition without specifying a new date for handover.

“The transition to civilians is not secondary and shouldn't be left to fate,” Suleiman said, noting that he favoured a proposal to carry out the handover in November. A simple reset of the clock would set a handover of July 2022.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2021/09/25/Sudan-needs-new-date-for-civilian-leadership-handover-Sovereign-Council

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Protesters block Port Sudan airport, key bridge over peace deal with rebel groups

24 September ,2021

Dozens of Sudanese demonstrators blocked Port Sudan airport in the country’s east, days after protesters closed a crucial port to deplore a peace deal between rebels and the government, witnesses said.

In October last year, several rebel groups signed a landmark accord with the transitional military-civilian government which came to power shortly after the April 2019 ouster of long-time autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

The Hadendoa tribe, the largest subdivision of the Beja people in Sudan’s impoverished east, have criticised the fragile peace deal saying it does not represent them.

A spokesman for Badr airlines, which has a daily flight between Port Sudan and the capital Khartoum, said it has suspended operations due to the unrest.

Airport officials were not immediately available for comment.

Witnesses told AFP that demonstrators also blocked a bridge linking Kassala with the rest of the country on Friday. They said public transport and motorists were barred from entering of leaving the riverfront city of Kassala.

Since Monday, demonstrators have impeded access to Port Sudan, the country’s main seaport and a vital trade hub for its crippled economy dependent on exports.

The witnesses who spoke to AFP did not identify the protesters.

But Abdullah Abu Shar, a leader of the Beja people, confirmed the latest developments suggesting his tribe was behind the unrest.

“Today (Friday) there is a total closure of Red Sea and Kassala states,” Abu Shar told AFP.

“We have prohibited traffic in and out of Port Sudan airport and blocked Al-Batana bridge in Kassala,” he added.

Tensions have gripped Port Sudan since the government and rebel groups signed the deal in October 2020, with recurrent anti-government protests taking place.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/09/24/Protesters-block-Port-Sudan-airport-key-bridge-over-peace-deal-with-rebel-groups

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Over 100 officials from Tunisia’s Ennahda Party resign amid crisis

25 September ,2021

More than 100 prominent officials of Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda party, including lawmakers and former ministers, resigned on Saturday in protest at the leadership’s performance, the biggest blow yet to the party which is facing a severe split.

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

Ennahda, the biggest party in parliament, was thrown into crisis after President Kais Saied sacked the government and suspended parliament on July 25.

In a statement, 113 senior officials from the party said they had resigned due to wrong choices by Ennahda’s leadership, which had led to its isolation and failure to engage in any common front to confront Saied’s decisions.

Among the resignations are eight lawmakers and several former ministers, including former Minister of Health Abdellatif Mekki.

“I feel deeply sad...I feel the pain of separation...but I have no choice after I tried for a long time, especially in recent months...I take responsibility for the decision that I made for my country,” Mekki said on Facebook.

Since Saied’s move two months ago, Ennahda officials have demanded that their leader Rached Ghannouchi, the parliament speaker, resign over the party’s response to the crisis and strategic choices he has made since a 2019 election.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2021/09/25/Over-100-officials-from-Tunisia-s-Ennahda-Party-resign-amid-crisis

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Morocco gets first batch of Turkish combat drones: Report

25 September ,2021

Morocco took delivery earlier this month of Turkish combat drones, the Far-Maroc unofficial website dedicated to military news reported.

The report, also carried by several local media outlets, comes as tensions have spiked between Morocco and neighboring Algeria in recent weeks.

The two countries are mainly at odds over the disputed Western Sahara territory, and Algeria severed ties with Morocco in August claiming “provocations and hostile” action by its neighbor.

Relations took another blow this week when Algeria on Wednesday said it has closed off its airspace to all Moroccan civilian and military traffic.

According to Far-Maroc, the North African kingdom ordered 13 Bayraktar TB2 drones from Turkey in April and a first batch of the unmanned aircraft arrived this month.

Rabat, said the report, seeks to “modernize the arsenal of the Moroccan Armed Forces (FAR) in order to prepare for any danger and recent hostilities”, but did not elaborate on these topics.

It did however add that Moroccan military personnel have trained in Turkey in recent weeks to work with the drones.

Media reports said Morocco signed a $70 million contract with the private Turkish company Baykar.

The firm is run by one of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-laws and has been exporting its Bayraktar TB2 model to Ukraine, Qatar and Azerbaijan for some years.

According to the company’s website, the Bayraktar TB2 is a “medium altitude long endurance tactical unmanned aerial vehicle capable of conducting intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and armed attack missions” with a range of up to 27 hours.

Morocco already uses drones for intelligence and surveillance operations along its borders, according to military experts.

The Western Sahara dispute pits Morocco against the Algeria-backed Polisario Front which fought a war of independence with Rabat from 1975 to 1991.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2021/09/25/Morocco-gets-first-batch-of-Turkish-combat-drones-Report

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Algerian official warns of further measures against Morocco

25 September ,2021

Algeria may escalate its dispute with Morocco and take more steps after having cut off relations and closed airspace, a senior Algerian diplomat said on Friday.

“The adoption of additional measures cannot be ruled out,” Amar Belani, the Foreign Ministry official responsible for Maghreb countries told Reuters without saying what other measures it may consider.

Relations between the North African neighbors have been bad for decades and their border has been closed since 1994, but have deteriorated since a dispute over the territory of Western Sahara blew up again last year.

Morocco regards Western Sahara as its territory, but the Algeria-backed Polisario Front movement seeks the region’s independence.

Last year Polisario said it was resuming an armed struggle after decades of truce and the United States acknowledged Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara in return for Rabat boosting ties with Israel, a state Algeria does not recognize.

A senior Moroccan diplomat has backed calls for the self-determination of Algeria’s Kabylie region, something Algiers has called unacceptable interference in its internal affairs.

It accuses Morocco of supporting MAK, a Kabylie separatist group that the Algerian government has labelled a terrorist organization and which it has accused, alongside an Islamist group called Rashad, of setting deadly wildfires.

Algiers on Aug. 24 cut off diplomatic ties with Morocco, citing the alleged support for MAK, as well as Western Sahara and other issues.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2021/09/25/Algerian-official-warns-of-further-measures-against-Morocco

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Hamas calls for protection of Palestinian assets in Sudan

Muhammad Majid  

25.09.2021

Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has called on Sudanese leaders to protect the assets of Palestinians living in the country.

“We appeal to the head of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, and Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok to intervene personally to stop abuses against Palestinians in Sudan regarding the confiscation of their legally acquired investments, homes, personal funds and companies, with the knowledge and approval of Sudanese state institutions," Hamas said in a statement.

Media reports emerged Thursday that Sudanese authorities have seized “lucrative assets that for years provided backing for Hamas” during the reign of former leader Omar al-Bashir.

However, Hamas denied any link between the movement and the ownership of the confiscated assets.

"The assets mentioned in the media reports are owned by Palestinian businessmen and investors, who have no organizational connection with the movement," Hamas said.

The Sudanese authorities have yet to make an official comment on the matter.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/hamas-calls-for-protection-of-palestinian-assets-in-sudan/2374637

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Talks between Somali president, prime minister end in stalemate

Mohammed Dhaysane  

24.09.2021

MOGADISHU, Somalia

Efforts to end differences between Somalia's president and prime minister have failed, according to the country's central state president, who was serving as a mediator.

In a statement on Friday, President of Galmudug State Ahmed Abdi Kariye (Qoorqoor) accused Somali President Mohamed Abdullah Mohamed for the failure.

On Sept. 16, President Mohamed suspended Prime Minister Mohammed Hussein Roble's power to appoint and remove officials, accusing him of making "rash and hasty decisions."

The presidency said the suspension of powers would remain in place until elections are concluded later this year.

The prime minister has dismissed the president's move as "unlawful," saying he would "only abide by the decisions that are in line with the Constitution."

"As you are aware, President of Galmudug Ahmed Abdi Kariye (Qoorqoor) has been working on resolving the dispute over the Ikraan Tahliil case, which has caused a great deal of controversy between President Farmajo and Prime Minister Roble," Galmudug State presidency minister Omar Shido posted on social media. "All efforts ended in a stalemate, with Roble's side showing maturity."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/talks-between-somali-president-prime-minister-end-in-stalemate/2373978

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Southeast Asia

 

Citizenship ruling for children born abroad to Malaysian mums: Cabinet agrees to continue with appeal, says home minister

24 Sep 2021

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 24 — The Cabinet has agreed to continue with the appeal and stay of execution application on the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s decision on the granting of automatic citizenship to children born abroad to Malaysian women married to foreign spouses.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said this was to enable the government not to be subject to contempt of court, and at the same time, comply with the provisions of the Federal Constitution.

He said there were two different Kuala Lumpur High Court decisions, namely the case of Suriani Kempe and six others against the Malaysian government and the case of Mahisha Sulaiha Abdul Majeed against the Director-General of National Registration along with two others over the interpretation of the term “father” in the Second Schedule Part II Section 1 (b) and 1 (c) of the Federal Constitution.

“In the Cabinet meeting earlier, we invited the Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun to provide an explanation. The Cabinet has asked the Attorney General to also bring the issue to the Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, in the near future,” he said during the Home Ministry’s special press conference here today.

He said the decision was made after taking into account the different judgments in the two cases, and the court proceedings in the Mahisha Sulaiha case, which is still ongoing at the Court of Appeal, and set to be heard in November.

In the case of Mahisha Sulaiha which was decided by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on May 21, 2020, the ruling was made in favour of the government and was appealed by the former at the Court of Appeal, while the ruling in the case of Suriani Kempe and six others did not favour the government.

On September 9, the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled that babies born overseas to Malaysian women who are married to foreigners are automatically entitled to Malaysian citizenship.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/09/24/citizenship-ruling-for-children-born-abroad-to-malaysian-mums-cabinet-agree/2008210

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Why Singapore may be reluctant to reopen its border with Johor, according to Malaysian workers’ association rep

24 Sep 2021

BY BEN TAN

JOHOR BARU, Sept 24 — A Malaysian workers’ representative today claimed that the Singapore government is not keen to reopen the Malaysia-Singapore border as the island republic is benefitting from an economic overflow due to the extra expenditure of Malaysian workers who are now stuck there.

Malaysian Workers Association in Singapore’s Johor chapter chairman S. Dayalan said an estimated RM14 billion, which should have been spent in Malaysia, has been used in Singapore instead, following the border closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said based on the latest statistics, there are a total of 215,000 Malaysians still working in Singapore.

“Because they can’t return to Johor Baru, they have to spend in Singapore to support themselves, and that is about SG$1,500 a month.

“Based on the calculation, within a year, it is estimated that Malaysians in Singapore have spent about SG$4.5 billion, or the equivalent of about RM14 billion,” said Dayalan during a press conference held at his office in Tampoi here today.

The Malaysia-Singapore border, which is one of the busiest in the world, has been closed since March 18, 2020.

In this regard, Dayalan said the Malaysian government, especially Johor’s administration, must demand that the border be reopened immediately.

“When the border was first closed, the world did not know how serious the Covid-19 threat was and what steps were needed to address it,” he said.

Dayalan added that after more than a year, most people are now aware of the importance of adhering to the standard operating procedures (SOP), apart from the need for vaccination.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/09/24/why-singapore-may-be-reluctant-to-reopen-its-border-with-johor-according-to/2008164

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On PM’s first official visit to Johor, Sultan Ibrahim urges Putrajaya to expedite review of MM2H

Saturday, 25 Sep 2021

BY BEN TAN

JOHOR BARU, Sept 25 — Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar today asked the government to expedite its review of the new conditions for the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme that were imposed recently.

He raised the matter during an audience with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob at Istana Pasir Palangi here today.

Sultan Ibrahim decreed that Johor is one of the main destinations for foreign investment, apart from the state being a key contributor to Malaysia’s economic growth.

“Johor is not only a neighbour of Singapore, but the MM2H programme is one of the contributors to the state’s economic strength.

“Review the strict conditions set and maintain the old conditions by making some improvements for a positive balance, especially on economic growth,” added Sultan Ibrahim in a statement posted on his official Facebook page today.

Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad was also present during the audience with Sultan Ibrahim.

The 63-year-old state monarch said that he had also discussed other matters related to the state’s development with Ismail Sabri.

This is Ismail Sabri’s first official visit to Johor after he became the country’s ninth prime minister on August 21.

The Bera MP is on a one-day working visit to Johor where, after the audience with Sultan Ibrahim, he will attend two closed-door meetings with state government officials and local community leaders at the Thistle Hotel here.

On August 30, Sultan Ibrahim expressed his disappointment with the Home Ministry for refusing to review the strict conditions set for MM2H.

He said Johor was one of MM2H’s popular destinations and the programme also contributed to the state’s revenue.

Sultan Ibrahim had also previously said that he would personally take up the matter with Ismail Sabri.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/09/25/on-pms-first-official-visit-to-johor-sultan-ibrahim-urges-putrajaya-to-expe/2008357

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Pejuang, Warisan’s snub of bipartisan deal shows Pakatan still far from unifying Opposition, say analysts

25 Sep 2021

BY KENNETH TEE

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 25 — Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) goal of unifying the Opposition via its “big tent” approach was still distant, analysts said after Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) and Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) both snubbed the coalition’s historic agreement with Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s administration.

They said Warisan and Pejuang’s open rejection of the Memorandum of Understanding on Political Stability and Transformation suggested fundamental differences among Opposition parties that may not be bridged before the 15th general election (GE15).

“As PH signed on to support Ismail Sabri in confidence motions (if any), its albeit vociferous criticisms of the government in Parliament and beyond have automatically become moot and perfunctory.

“And it may thus be said that PH is nowadays derelict of its main political duty as the largest Opposition bloc,” said Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs.

“As such, it would also render it unlikely for the co-opted PH to coordinate with the other Opposition parties when it comes to seat allocation in the next general election.”

Should this persist, Oh said it was “almost inevitable” that clashes would occur when GE15 is called as the loosely aligned parties would revert to their respective political directions.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s Azmi Hassan further noted that the Opposition needed to portray itself as ‘sturdy’ in order to convince the people of their intentions in retaking Putrajaya come GE15 after having their mandate “stolen” in 2020.

“Regarding the ‘big tent’ issue, I think there is still a problem with the Opposition in which they are so disenfranchised and cannot come together as they did in GE14 in this case.

“If this particular situation where the Opposition cannot come together coming into GE15, I think they are in deep trouble because they need to be whatever the term is called such as using one (contesting) symbol as one big coalition.

Last month, PH reiterated its plan to adopt a “big tent” approach when cooperating with the rest of the Opposition heading into the general election.

However, Azmi said the absence of both Warisan and Pejuang from the MoU indicated a fundamental difference that must be addressed in order for PH to bring them into the fold.

“Somehow or rather maybe the problem is because of the PM (candidate) having been decided, which maybe Warisan and Pejuang cannot come to an agreement with Anwar as the PM,” he said referring to PH chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“That is the issue that needs to be resolved before Warisan and Pejuang can be in one big tent with PH.”

Some argued that Pejuang and Warisan’s refusal to support the MoU should not be interpreted as a rejection of long-term cooperation with PH within its proposed “big tent”.

“Warisan and Pejuang are two relatively small parties whose absence from the MoU will not affect the stability of this government led by Ismail Sabri.

“I think we should differentiate their refusal to sign the MoU from a possible cooperation back in the Opposition big tent come GE15.

“Stability craved by Malaysians and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is achieved by the MoU, while smaller parties continue making sure the government remains on its toes until the expiry of the MoU in July 2022. Fair enough an arrangement,” Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid said.

When asked to clarify, Ahmad Fauzi said the Opposition was never “unified” to begin with, noting that the existence of smaller parties is not unusual in a situation of fractious politics where it was common for coalitions to form prior to after an election.

On September 13, PH said it will do its best for the sake of the future of the people and the nation, after a historic memorandum of understanding to affirm its bipartisan cooperation with the federal government was inked.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/09/25/pejuang-warisans-snub-of-bipartisan-deal-shows-pakatan-still-far-from-unify/2008251

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Arab World

 

Iraqi Kurdistan conference pushes for Baghdad-Israel normalization

25 September ,2021

More than 300 Iraqis, including tribal leaders, attended a conference in autonomous Kurdistan organized by a US think-tank demanding a normalization of relations between Baghdad and Israel, organizers said Saturday.

The first initiative of its kind in Iraq, where Israel’s sworn enemy Iran has a very strong influence, the conference took place on Friday and was organized by the New York-based Center for Peace Communications (CPC).

The CPC advocates for normalizing relations between Israel and Arab countries, alongside working to establish ties between civil society organizations.

Iraqi Kurdistan maintains cordial contacts with Israel, but the federal government in Baghdad does not have diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.

Four Arab nations -- the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan -- last year agreed to normalize ties with Israel in a US-sponsored process dubbed the Abraham Accords.

“We demand our integration into the Abraham Accords,” said Sahar al-Tai, one of the attendees, reading a closing statement in a conference room at a hotel in the Kurdish regional capital Arbil.

“Just as these agreements provide for diplomatic relations between the signatories and Israel, we also want normal relations with Israel,” she said.

“No force, local or foreign, has the right to prevent this call,” added Tai, head of research at the Iraqi federal government’s culture ministry.

The 300 participants at the conference came from across Iraq, according to CPC founder Joseph Braude, a US citizen of Iraqi Jewish origin.

They included Sunni and Shiite representatives from “six governorates: Baghdad, Mosul, Salaheddin, al-Anbar, Diyala and Babylon,” extending to tribal chiefs and “intellectuals and writers”, he told AFP by phone.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/09/25/Iraqi-Kurdistan-conference-pushes-for-Baghdad-Israel-normalization

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Lebanon president Aoun tells UN big challenges await government, help needed

24 September ,2021

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun told the United Nations General Assembly on Friday big challenges awaited his country's new government and asked the international community for funding to revive itscrisis-stricken economy.

“We are relying on the international community to fund vital projects, whether in the public or private sector, in order to revive the economic cycle and create new job opportunities,” Aoun told the gathering via a recorded video message.

Lebanon is in the throes of a financial crisis that the World Bank has called one of the deepest depressions of modern history.

After a year of political deadlock which has compounded the economic meltdown, a new government was formed this month headed by Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

“With the formation of the new government...Lebanon has entered a new phase that we seek to turn into a promising step on the road to resurgence,” Aoun said.

Mikati has promised to resume talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and to pursue the reforms seen as a necessary pre-requisite for foreign aid to flow in.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/09/24/Lebanon-president-Aoun-tells-UN-big-challenges-await-government-help-needed

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Macron urges new Lebanese PM Mikati to undertake ‘urgent’ reforms

24 September ,2021

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday urged the new Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati to undertake “urgent” reforms to help his crisis-wracked country, as the two men met for the first time in Paris.

After repeating previous criticisms of Lebanon’s political class, Macron told Mikati it was “urgent to implement measures and essential reforms.”

Macron said France would continue to support Lebanon.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/09/24/Macron-urges-new-Lebanese-PM-Mikati-to-undertake-urgent-reforms-

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Saudi Arabia FM meets US special envoy for Iran, top international diplomats at UN

25 September ,2021

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met with US special envoy for Iran Robert Malley on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly this week, state news agency SPA reported.

The two discussed joint efforts, the most recent developments of Iran’s nuclear deal, and regional and international events.

Prince Faisal also met several high-ranking international diplomats on the sidelines of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/09/25/Saudi-Arabia-FM-meets-US-special-envoy-for-Iran-top-international-diplomats-at-UN

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Saudi defence forces destroy Houthi drone heading towards Abha

24 September ,2021

Saudi Defense Forces intercepted and destroyed a Houthi explosive drone launched towards Abha in Saudi Arabia, the Arab Coalition said on Friday.

The Iran-backed group is deliberately trying to target civilians in the Kingdom, the coalition added.

On Thursday, Saudi Arabia’s Defense Forces destroyed three explosive-laden Houthi drones that were heading towards the Kingdom and a ballistic missile that was targeting the Jazan region.

The defense forces’ efficiency helped to thwart all the attempts by the Iran-backed militia to attack Saudi Arabia, the coalition said.

The coalition will be taking the necessary operational measures to target the sources of the threat in accordance with international humanitarian law, the coalition said in the statement.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/09/24/Saudi-defense-forces-destroy-Houthi-drone-heading-towards-Abha

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Mideast

 

Palestinian President Abbas tells UN Israel's actions could lead to ‘one state’

24 September ,2021

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel on Friday of destroying the two-state solution with actions he said could lead Palestinians to demand equal rights within one binational state comprising Israel, the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

Addressing the UN General Assembly via video link from the West Bank, Abbas, 85, urged the international community to act to save the two-state formula that for decades has been the bedrock of diplomacy for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Abbas said Israel was “destroying the prospect of a political settlement based on the two-state solution” through its settlements on West Bank land it captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

Most countries view the settlements as illegal, a position Israel disputes.

“If the Israeli occupation authorities continue to entrench the reality of one apartheid state as is happening today, our Palestinian people and the entire world will not tolerate such a situation,” Abbas said. Israel rejects accusations of apartheid.

“Circumstances on the ground will inevitably impose equal and full political rights for all on the land of historical Palestine, within one state. In all cases, Israel has to choose,” Abbas said from Ramallah, the seat of his Palestinian Authority, which has limited self-rule in the West Bank.

There was no immediate Israeli comment on Abbas' remarks.

Critics say internal Palestinian divisions have also contributed to the deadlock in US-sponsored peace talks, which collapsed in 2014.

Under interim peace accords with Israel, Abbas' PA was meant to exercise control in Gaza as well. But his Islamist rivals Hamas seized the coastal enclave in 2007 and years of on-and-off talks have failed to break their impasse.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a far-rightist who sits atop a cross-partisan coalition, opposes Palestinian statehood. His government has vowed to avoid sensitive choices towards the Palestinians and instead focus on economic issues.

In his UN address, Abbas threatened to rescind the Palestinians' recognition of Israel if it does not withdraw from the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem within a year.

“If this is not achieved, why maintain recognition of Israel based on the 1967 borders? Why maintain this recognition?” Abbas said.

While some Palestinians and Israelis support the idea of a single binational state, most have very different ideas of what that entity would look like and how it would be governed.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/09/24/Palestinian-President-Abbas-tells-UN-Israel-s-actions-could-lead-to-one-state-

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Israeli troops shoot dead Palestinian man during clashes at West Bank settlement

24 September ,2021

Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian man and injured others on Friday during clashes at a protest against Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry and medics said.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military on the incident, which occurred in an area south of the Palestinian city of Nablus that has seen frequent Palestinian protests against Israeli settlements.

At least eight Palestinians were shot by rubber bullets during Friday’s protest, Palestinian medics said. One of them was struck in the head, and died soon after being rushed to hospital, the Palestinian health ministry said.

The West Bank is among territories Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war where Palestinians seek statehood. Violence has simmered there since US-sponsored talks between the Palestinians and Israel broke down in 2014.

Palestinians have staged near-daily protests in the village of Beita, south of Nablus, to voice anger at a nearby Israeli settler outpost, often leading to violent clashes with Israeli troops.

The settlers agreed to leave the outpost in July under an agreement with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, following weeks of demonstrations by Palestinians lighting fires that often engulfed the outpost in smoke.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/09/24/Israeli-troops-shoot-dead-Palestinian-man-during-clashes-at-West-Bank-settlement

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Turkey calls on Greece to respect rights of Muslim students

SEP 24, 2021

In response to another rights violation against the Turkish minority in Western Thrace by Greece, Turkey urged its neighbor early Friday to cancel a circular restricting Muslim students and teachers from performing their religious duties.

In a Twitter post, the Turkish Foreign Ministry invited Greek authorities to "reverse the decision that restricts the students and teachers that go to the elementary schools of Turkish minorities in Western Thrace from performing their religious obligations."

The recently issued circular is a step toward restricting freedom of religion and conscience, the Western Thrace Turkish Minority Advisory Board said in a statement.

The board said the practice in Rhodope and Evros prefectures is against the law and "is cunning, to say the least, if not a snide attitude."

"We call on all authorities to respect our sensitivities and to make the arrangements that take these sensitivities into consideration at once," it added.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu recently urged Greece to cease its interventionist practices and policies that pressure Muslim religious leaders elected by the Turkish minority in Western Thrace.

Dating back centuries, a population of 150,000 Muslim Turks live mainly in the Komotini (Gümülcine) and Xanthi (İskeçe) areas in Greece's Western Thrace region. The election of muftis, or Islamic clerics, by Muslims in Greece is regulated by the 1913 Treaty of Athens, a Greek-Ottoman Empire pact that was implemented by Athens in 1920. But in 1991, in violation of international law, Greece annulled its law regarding the 1913 treaty and unlawfully started to appoint muftis. The muftis appointed by the Greek state have since usurped local Muslims' rights of jurisdiction on family and inheritance matters. Most Turks in Western Thrace do not recognize muftis appointed by the Greek state and instead rightfully elect their own muftis. However, since 1991, the Greek state has refused to recognize the elected muftis, and authorities have even put clerics on trial.

Turkey has long decried Greek violations of the rights of its Muslim and Turkish minority, from the closing down of mosques and letting historic mosques fall into disrepair, to refusing to allow local associations to use "Turkish" in their name.

These measures violate the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, as well as European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) verdicts, making Greece a state that flouts the law, say Turkish officials.

Turkey has frequently urged Greece to comply with the ECtHR decisions upholding the freedoms of the local Turkish minority.

Turkey remembers 1821 Tripolice massacre

Meanwhile, Turkey Thursday remembered the 1821 Tripolice massacre where thousands of Turks were killed in the central Peloponnese in Greece.

Marking the 200th anniversary of the massacre, the Foreign Ministry said tens of thousands of Turks were "brutally murdered" in Tripolice when the administrative center of the Peloponnese was besieged by Greek rebels in 1821.

"This inhumane massacre, which aimed to not let a single Turk survive in the Peloponnese, has been written as a black mark in history," it said on Twitter.

Those who make the mistake of educating others by distorting the facts at every opportunity should know that their atrocities can never be forgotten, and they should face the facts sincerely, the ministry added.

Tripolice was the administrative center of the Peloponnese province in the southern region of Greece and was ruled by the Ottoman Empire since the end of the 14th century. In the three days following the city's capture, Muslims, alongside Jewish and Christian supporters of the Ottoman regime inhabiting Tripolice, were exterminated.

Source: Daily Sabah

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

https://www.dailysabah.com/politics/diplomacy/turkey-calls-on-greece-to-respect-rights-of-muslim-students

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IRGC: US Left with No Option, But to Leave West Asia

2021-September-24

"After 41 years since the start of the imposed war, which was sponsored and supported by the world powers, the nation has grown more resilient and the country has solidified its defensive power," the IRGC statement said.

The IRGC pointed out that the imposed war against Iran ended while even a handspan of Iranian soil was not given to the enemy.

"The western powers continued non-stop to conspire against Iran over the past 33 years since the end of the imposed war," it added.

The IRGC reiterated that the power of hegemonic powers such as the United States, which supported Saddam's regime, was declining while they made wrong calculations and invaded Islamic countries of Iraq and Afghanistan.

"But today, after more than twenty years since the occupation of Afghanistan by the US and NATO, we are witnessing the humiliating escape of the Americans from Afghanistan and at God's willing, we will see their expulsion from West Asia in the near future," the IRGC statement further added.

In relevant remarks on Tuesday, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Hossein Salami said that Iran is bolstering its power to gain victory against Washington, noting that Israel is no more counted as a power.

"We have built power to defeat the US. When we build power for man's largest military empire, i.e. the US, small powers like the Zionist regime are no longer counted in our equations," General Salami said.

He underlined that the Iranian nation has managed to embrace victory against the US cruel sanctions and economic war as well as the psychological pressures and heavy media operations of Washington and other western powers, and defused enemies’ plots.

In relevant remarks on Sunday, General Salami said that the US has lost its power and is a defeated, fugitive and depressed state which has been forced to withdraw its forces from the region.

“Today we no longer see the dangerous US, but we witness a failed, fleeing, and the depressed US,” General Salami said.

General Salami also expressed delight that the Iranian nation’s resistance too had helped them weather all pressures.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14000702000441/IRGC-US-Lef-wih-N-Opin-B-Leave-Wes-Asia

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Iranian FM Criticizes Britain, EU for Inaction on US Moves against JCPOA

2021-September-23

The meeting was held on Wednesday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly’s 76th Session in New York.

The European attitude was helping “the US administration keep enforcing its illegal sanctions [against Iran], while at the same time laying claim to seeking a return to the JCPOA”, Amir Abdollahian said.

Iran has been given many words and promises alleging that the West intended to revisit its JCPOA approach, the Iranian top diplomat said. There, however, have been no actions, he added.

“Unfortunately, the UK has been part of this inaction too, and this approach should change,” Amir Abdollahian said.

“This is the obvious inconsistency that is being witnessed by the Iranian nation,” he said, adding, “For the current Iranian Administration, measurable actions on the part of the other parties in the JCPOA form the only yardstick.”

Separately, the Iranian official urged that the UK take action towards repaying its debt towards Iran.

Britain owes as much as £400m to Iran arising from the non-delivery of Chieftain tanks ordered by Iran's former monarchical regime. An international arbitration in 2008 ruled the UK owed the debt.

Rebuilding of the bilateral ties took serious action, Amir Abdollahian asserted, urging London to note that taking such action on its obligations constituted the only means of reconstructing the relations.

Tehran responds proportionately to any positive and constructive step, he, meanwhile, pledged.

Truss, for her part, alleged that the UK was prepared to repay the debt.

Concerning the JCPOA, she claimed that the main focus currently rested on resumption of the talks.

Iran and the other five remaining parties to the nuclear deal signed between Tehran and world powers in 2015, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), that is, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, have held six rounds of talks in Vienna to salvage the faltering agreement by bringing the US, as the violator of the deal, back into compliance.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14000701000305/Iranian-FM-Criicizes-Briain-EU-fr-Inacin-n-US-Mves-agains-JCPOA

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‘Soon’ for Iran differs from West’s in nuclear talks: Top Iranian diplomat

25 September ,2021

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Saturday that when his government says it will return soon to talks on resuming compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, it means when Tehran has completed its review of the nuclear file.

On Friday, Amirabdollahian told reporters in New York that Iran would return to talks “very soon,” but gave no specific date.

In remarks broadcast on state TV channel IRINN on Saturday, Amirabdollahian said, “People keep asking how soon is soon. Does it mean days, weeks or months?”

“The difference between Iranian and Western ‘soon’ is a lot. To us, ‘soon’ means really in the first opportune time - when our reviews (of the nuclear file) have been completed. What is important is our determination to return to the talks, but those that are serious and guarantee the Iranian nation’s rights and interests,” Amirabdollahian said.

He was speaking to IRINN in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

On the other hand, he said: “I remind you of the West’s promises, such as repeatedly promising they would ‘soon’, ‘in a few months,’ implement the Instex” - a trade mechanism set up to barter humanitarian goods and food after the US withdrawal from the deal.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/09/25/-Soon-for-Iran-differs-from-West-s-in-nuclear-talks-Top-Iranian-diplomat

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