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Islamic World News ( 8 Feb 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Hijab Row: Muslim Girl Student, Muskan, 'Screamed Allah Hu Akbar' After Hecklers 'Shouted Jai Shri Ram'

New Age Islam News Bureau

09 February 2022

 

Muskan stood her ground as she was heckled by a large group of slogan-shouting young men wearing saffron scarves at a Karnataka college.

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• Al Qaeda Leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri Surfaces in Anti-Atheism Video; Calls on Muslims to Champion Cause Of 'Oppressed'

• Taliban Erases All Signs of Ex-Government from Kabul Streets; "With the Help of God, Our Nation Defeated the Americans," Reads One Blast Wall

• Outlawed Tehreek-I-Taliban Pakistan till Active With Up To 5,000 Fighters: UN

• Online Platform, Islamophobia, Launched In France to Fight Islamophobic Cases in France

 India

• Muslim Man Who Was Voice of Harmony Gets Secular Funeral; By Muslims and Hindus According To Their Own Traditions in Karnataka

• Opposition seeks government reply on hijab, walks out of Lok Sabha

• Teacher, Muslim Student Beaten As Hijab Row Protests Turn Violent In Karnataka

• Hatred for Muslims normalised in India: Omar Abdullah over Karnataka 'hijab' row

• Drones from Pakistan airdrop 2 wooden crates in Indian Territory

• NIA arrests recruiter in UP terror conspiracy case

• Home ministry seeks more time to frame CAA rules

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Arab World

• ISIS likely to pick battle-hardened Iraqi as next leader: Officials, analysts

• Israel, UAE sign tourism, healthcare agreements

• Lebanon: Muslim cleric shunned for playing keyboard

• Lebanon’s Hezbollah chief describes Kuwaiti proposals to Lebanon as ‘dictates’

• Israel’s police chief cuts short UAE trip over spyware probe

• Al-Azhar launches trial Braille version of Qur’an to help the blind

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South Asia

• Acting Defence Minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Calls on Ulema to Help

• Bangladesh and Myanmar Resume Talks on Rohingya Repatriation

• Armed clash breaks out between Taliban, local residents in Afghanistan's Panjshir

• Ex-UK Defence Chief Suggests Recognition of Islamic Emirate

• Two sisters and mother assassinated in Kabul, Taliban arrested assassin

• Stuck in limbo, Afghan students lose hope of returning to Indian universities

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Pakistan

• IMF wants Pakistan to ‘do more’ than just levying taxes

• Saudi Arabia eases travel restrictions for Pakistani pilgrims

• Pakistan wades into Karnataka hijab row, minister says India terrorising Muslim girl students

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Europe

• England: Cambridge Central Mosque donates tonnes food to vulnerable during pandemic

• French Muslims concerned about anti-Muslim sentiment in elections

• Taliban delegation in Geneva

• 2 suspected British Daesh members arrested in Afghanistan

• UK’s Corbyn urges world leaders to hold Israel to account for violations of Palestinians' rights

• Italy calls on Bahrain to release detained rights activist 'Abduljalil Al-Singace'

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North America

• US Seeking Taliban’s Cooperation in Anti-ISIS Fight

• Disagreements Resurface Between US, Israel Over 2015 Iran Deal Revival

• US, UAE to develop tech to stop drone attacks before launch as defence ties bolster

• Congressional Republicans call for review, vote on any deal with Iran

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Africa

• Tunisia Must Restore Judicial Watchdog: UN, Western Envoys

• Libyan army hails Turkiye's role in training its personnel

• Prosecution seeks 30 years in prison for Burkina Faso former President Compaore in Sankara’s murder

• Tunisia's president says decree to dissolve judicial body ready

• Tunisia’s foreign minister endorses dissolution of judicial council

• Foreign envoys voice concern over plans to dissolve Tunisia’s judicial council

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Mideast

• President Rayeesi: Independent States Can Overcome Sanctions via Expanding Cooperation

• Iran's UN Ambassador Stresses Punishment of Sanctioning States

• Israel hits missile targets in Syria: Military

• Israeli forces kill three Palestinian militants in the West Bank

• Diplomatic flurry suggests new momentum as Iran nuclear talks resume

• Israeli forces kill 3 Palestinians in West Bank city of Nablus

• OIC condemns Israel’s killing of 3 Palestinians in Nablus

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Southeast Asia

• Malaysia Must Clarify Whether Envoy’s ‘Promise’ to Taliban Had Govt OK

• Indonesian croc freed after five years trapped in tyre

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:  https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/hijab-muslim-student-muskan-allah-akbar-jai-shri-ram/d/126335

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Hijab Row: Muslim Girl Student, Muskan, 'Screamed Allah Hu Akbar' After Hecklers 'Shouted Jai Shri Ram'

 

Muskan stood her ground as she was heckled by a large group of slogan-shouting young men wearing saffron scarves at a Karnataka college.

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February 8, 2022

The Karnataka student who was seen in the viral video from Mandya district said she shouted Islamic slogan, Allah hu Akbar, in response to the sloganeering by a mob wearing saffron scarves when they heckled her outside the college.

The college student, identified as Muskan, told India Today TV elaborating what happened during the incident.

"I was going to college to submit an assignment. There were some people who were not allowing me to go to the college because I was wearing a burqa. They were asking me to remove burqa and then go inside," Muskan told India Today TV.

Video of the Karnataka student shouting 'Allah hu Akbar' at a mob outside her college in the Mandya district has rocked social media. The video shows a mob of saffron shawl wearing men heckling her for coming to college wearing burqa.

While many hailed Muskan as brave for having stood her ground against a crowd of hecklers, some others accused her of using religious slogan in response to the group which was demanding a ban on burqa and hijab on campus.

She said those trying to stop her from entering the college premises were wearing saffron scarves, as was visible in the video going viral on social media. She said the mob started chanting 'Jai Shri Ram'. In response, she shouted 'Allah hu Akbar', Muskan said.

"...I came in and they started shouting Jai Shri Ram, Jai Shri Ram. I was just passing. There were a lot of boys standing. Some of them were outsiders and some from the college. But our principal and every lecturer supported me," she said.

The video showed a couple of college staff escorting her to inside the premises. As she headed towards the college premises, the mob started shouting slogans again.

“They started shouting slogans, Jai Shri Ram, Jai Sri Ram. So, I screamed 'Allah hu Akbar'. That's it," Muskan said.

"Lots of boys were standing. They were just screaming...They were showing fingers...I was a little bit scared. Then I saw principal and teacher and felt okay," she said.

Muskan said, "They were saying if I don't remove the burqa, they will not remove his [saffron scarf].

The incident took place on Tuesday at PES College in Mandya, Karnataka. This incident happened in the middle of a raging debate across Karnataka over wearing hijab and burqa on college campuses and in the premises of other educational institutions.

The government has intervened to say that there should be uniform dress code for college campuses drawing sharp reactions from several Muslim groups and Opposition parties. Videos and photographs of students arguing with principals are doing rounds on social media for a few days.

A video earlier surfaced showing a student in the Shimoga district climbing up a pole to hoist saffron flag atop the college building. The student allegedly removed the national flag before hoisting the saffron flag in a signal of support to the Hindu groups demanding a ban on burqa and hijab-wearing on campus.

The video shows students standing below cheering when the saffron flag is hoisted. Students could be seen waving saffron flags or stoles.

The ruling BJP, however, blamed the hijab row emerging from campuses on political conspiracy by the rival parties. Karnataka Primary and Secondary Education Minister BC Nagesh the controversy was limited to six students in an Udupi college who did not want to follow uniform rules and wear hijab while attending classes.

"Initially, 11-12 students were protesting. The local MLA also spoke to the students and some of them even agreed to come to classes in proper uniform. Only six were still protesting when some political forces intervened in the issue," BC Nagesh said.

The Opposition, on the other hand, linked the hijab row to law-and-order situation and demanded that the government should declare holiday in all the schools and colleges and move classes online.

Karnataka Congress president DK Shivakumar said, "The situation in some Karnataka educational institutions has gone so out of hand that in one case the National flag was replaced by a saffron flag. I think the affected institutions should be closed for a week to restore law and order. Teaching can continue online."

Source: India Today

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

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/hijab-row-karnataka-student-says-she-screamed-allah-hu-akbar-after-hecklers-shouted-jai-shri-ram-1910447-2022-02-08

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Al Qaeda Leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri Surfaces in Anti-Atheism Video; Calls on Muslims to Champion Cause Of 'Oppressed'

 

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri (Photo Courtesy: SITE Intelligence Group) Photograph :( Others)

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Feb 09, 2022

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri released another anti-atheism video on Wednesday.

SITE Intelligence Group which tracks terror-related activities on social media said the terrorist leader called on Muslims worldwide to champion the cause of the "oppressed" in the 32-minute video.

al-Zawahiri had released another video on February 4 in a series called "deal of the century or the crusade of the century".

The whereabouts of the Al Qaeda chief is unknown with reports claiming he has been unwell for some time. 

Also Read in Pics: 'Destroyer' ISIS terrorist al-Qurashi: Low-profile but brutal operator 

In a video posted in November last year, al-Zawahiri had attacked United Nations for being hostile towards Islam stating that “the United Nations was created by the victorious powers in the Second World War with the aim of imposing a political system and doctrine on the entire world."

The Al Qaeda leader had also posted a video during the 9/11 anniversary last year on Telegram with the title "Jerusalem will not be Judaised". However, Islamic State(IS) and other terrorist networks had cast doubts on the authenticity of the video.

In the 9/11 video, Zawahiri had said 19 Mujahideen fighters had "wounded America's heart" referring to the attackers who carried out the attacks on September 2001 in New York and Washington.

Zawahiri had succeeded Osama bin Laden after the Al Qaeda chief was killed in a US raid at his hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011.

Source: WIO News

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

https://www.wionews.com/world/al-qaeda-zawahiri-surfaces-in-video-again-calls-on-muslims-to-champion-cause-of-oppressed-451610

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Taliban Erases All Signs of Ex-Government from Kabul Streets; "With the Help of God, Our Nation Defeated the Americans," Reads One Blast Wall

 

 

People walk past a wall with a slogan that reads: "By the help of God, our nation defeated America," in Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP photo)

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Feb 9, 2022

KABUL: In the six months since taking back control of Afghanistan, the Taliban have erased all visible signs of the former government from the capital.

Gone are flags of the former republic, murals of national heroes, and memorials honouring those killed in Taliban attacks?

Blast walls are now covered with slogans of the new Islamic Emirate. "With the help of God, our nation defeated the Americans," reads one.

The owners of many beauty salons in central Kabul have removed posters of women in full make-up and fashionable hair styles once displayed on their doors.

Iconography of the slain anti-Taliban Commander Ahmad Shah Massoud in his trademark Pakol cap that adorned almost every neighbourhood of the city has been covered up.

Fewer women and girls are seen moving between markets and cafes, many too afraid to leave the house after the takeover, or with no money to spend after losing their jobs.

Vehicles all but vanish after dark, as extra Taliban checkpoints spring up.

And on a hilltop overlooking Kabul, the black, green and red flag of the former regime has been taken down.

The flagpole now stands bare in the middle of a snowy garden.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/taliban-erases-signs-of-ex-government-from-kabul-streets/articleshow/89443717.cms

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Outlawed Tehreek-I-Taliban Pakistan till Active With Up To 5,000 Fighters: UN

  

Anwar Iqbal

February 9, 2022

UNITED NATIONS: The outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) still has between 3,000 and 5,000 fighters in Afghanistan, reports a team of UN monitors.

The report, sent to the UN Security Council on Monday, also warns that a Taliban-run “Afghanistan has the potential to become a safe haven for Al Qaeda and a number of terror groups with ties to the Central Asia region and beyond”.

The US government and various UN agencies have long claimed that Al Qaeda has been active in Afghanistan since the beginning of the Afghan jihad. US officials also say that despite a public pledge to curb Al Qaeda activities, Afghanistan’s new Taliban leaders are not doing so, a claim the Taliban deny.

The 29th report of the UN Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team deals with a wide range of terrorist groups active in South Asia and beyond and covers the events that happened between June and December 2021.

Report claims family members of TTP fighters in Afghanistan wished to resettle in Pakistan under assurances to reintegrate

The committee monitors the activities of major militant groups like Al Qaeda, Taliban and various factions of the militant Islamic State (IS) group, which is also known as Daesh. The committee is required to ensure that UN-mandated sanctions on these groups are implemented.

The team describes the return of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan as “the most significant event” in the country’s recent history, which will have far-reaching implications for all.

The militant Islamic State of Khorasan or IS-K is another group that the report focuses on, noting that it “controls limited territory”, but has “a continuing ability to mount sophisticated attacks” across the region. Its ability to operate across borders adds to “the complexity of the security situation in Afghanistan”, the report warns.

In its chapter on South Asia, the report deals with the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan and its impact on other countries in the region. The report includes TTP among the groups that have had close working relations with all major terrorist groups in the region, including the Taliban, Al Qaeda and IS-K.

The report assesses “the number of TTP fighters at between 3,000 and 5,500 in Afghanistan, with Noor Wali Mehsud remaining as their leader”.

It notes that Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers are mediating a truce between TTP and Pakistan and this mediation has “led to a reduction in TTP attacks against Pakistan”. The negotiators also discussed the presence of TTP family members in Afghanistan, noting that they “wish to resettle in Pakistan under assurances that they would reintegrate peacefully into local communities”.

The report says that despite a strong denial by the Taliban, Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), led by Osama Mehmood and his deputy Atif Yahya Ghouri, “retains a presence in Afghanistan”.

The report identifies the provinces of Ghazni, Helmand, Kandahar, Nimruz, Paktika and Zabul as places where the group fought alongside the Taliban against the ousted Afghan government. The AQIS has between 200 and 400 fighters, mainly from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and Pakistan.

The report also highlights the activities of a group — known as the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) or Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) — that’s struggling to start an insurgency in China. The group has between 1,000 and 3,000 fighters in Syria, mostly located in Idlib, Aleppo, Ladhiqiyah and Hama governorates.

The UN team reports that ETIM/TIP members “frequently visited the Wakhan corridor, calling for a return to Xinjiang for jihad”. The group closely collaborates with Al Qaeda, TTP and Jamaat Ansarullah to “plan attacks on Chinese interests in Pakistan, Tajikistan and elsewhere”, the report warns.

“ISIL (IS) is taking advantage of the turmoil in Afghanistan, including by recruiting ETIM/TIP fighters under the leadership of a Uighur team, in an attempt to expand the organisation and support the group’s cause,” the report warns.

The report points out that the perpetrator of the IS-K bombing of the Gozar-i-Sayed Abad Mosque in Kunduz on Oct 8 was a Uighur fighter from the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China.

Some member states reported to the UN team that, following the Taliban’s return to power, ETIM/TIP fighters were relocated from their traditional stronghold in Badakhshan, on the border with China, to Baghlan, Takhar and other provinces, “as part of the Taliban’s efforts to both protect and restrain the group”. The group has between 200 and 700 fighters in this area.

The report notes that on Aug 13, Al Qaeda released a statement congratulating the Taliban on its victory. Since then, Al Qaeda “has maintained a strategic silence, likely an effort not to compromise Taliban’s efforts to gain international recognition and legitimacy”, the report adds.

UN monitors believe that Al Qaeda is still recovering from a series of leadership losses and lacks the capability to conduct high-profile attacks overseas. Amin Muhammad ul-Haq Saam Khan, who coordinated security for Osama bin Laden, returned to his home in Afghanistan in late August.

One member state reported that Osama bin Laden’s son, Abdallah, visited Afghanistan in October for meetings with the Taliban. Al Qaeda leader Aiman al-Zawahiri was “alive as recently as January 2021, but is in poor health”, the report claims.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1674089/ttp-still-active-with-up-to-5000-fighters-un

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Online Platform, Islamophobia, Launched In France to Fight Islamophobic Cases in France

 

 Esra Taskin 

08.02.2022

PARIS

A new online platform, Islamophobia, has been launched in France to fight Islamophobic cases more effectively and to open them up for discussion, according to one of its founders.

Rafik Chekkat, a graduate of law and political philosophy, told Anadolu Agency that for many years the legitimacy of the term was debated in France.

While Muslims in the country are exposed to Islamophobic attitudes and insults, the term Islamophobia is rejected by many in the public sphere, media and politics, Chekkat said.

This situation prevents the scope and definition of Islamophobia from being discussed, he added.

Chekkat, who is a French citizen of Algerian origin, said he includes Islamophobic acts on the platform.

He said the idea was born after a friend asked him what can be done to fight Islamophobia following the 2019 Bayonne Mosque attack in France where two people were injured and a headscarved mother was verbally assaulted.

He recalled that a controversial law -- which first emerged as an anti-separatism bill in France and was changed to “reinforcing respect for the principles of the Republic" following reactions, -- targets Muslims.

Chekkat said: “Islamophobia (platform) will create content such as videos, podcasts and documentaries in order to reach different audiences.”

Additionally, they will publish a magazine, Conditions, three times a year, he said.

Free-of-cost

“The platform will address the political, economic, social and psychological aspects of Islamophobia, along with its effects on Muslims and their daily lives,” Chekkat said, emphasizing that this will be useful explainer on what Muslims in France are going through.

“The challenge of combating Islamophobia is more like a long-distance race than a sprint,” he said.

Underlining that the content of the platform will be free of charge, Chekkat said that only the magazine, which focuses on Islamophobia in Europe, will have to be subscribed.

“Since the end of 2020, there has been an increasing pressure on Muslims in France, especially by the authorities, who want them to be silenced,” he said.

“The important thing for us was to show that the Muslims in France have not given up,” he said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/new-platform-to-fight-islamophobia-launched-in-france/2496992

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 India

 Muslim Man Who Was Voice of Harmony Gets Secular Funeral; By Muslims and Hindus According To Their Own Traditions in Karnataka

Feb 9, 2022

KOPPAL: A Muslim man who had worked for communal harmony in his village through social work and by participating in all Hindu religious events, was given a send-off on Sunday by Muslims and Hindus according to their own traditions.

Hussainsab, in his eighties, died of cancer on Saturday. He was laid to rest in Talabalu village in Kukanur taluk on Sunday.

Seer Mahadev Devaru, of the Annadaneshwar Jagadguru Mutt in Kukanur, who came to the village, said: "As Hussainsab had worked for communal harmony in the village, we respected him a lot and bid him adieu in a dignified way by performing rituals in both Muslim and Hindu traditions to show that harmony still exists in our village."

Hindus in the village gathered at Hussainsab's home and participated in the rituals. First, his relatives performed rituals according to Muslim traditions. After this, Hindus performed rituals, offering aarti, breaking a coconut and doing bajanas.

Malaksab Noorabasha, the son of Hussainsab, said: "My father was involved in all religious events of both communities. He used to take part in all events of Hindus in the village. He earned respect for his secular values. We first did our rituals like reading the Quran. The Hindus then did puja, bajanas and other rituals and arranged for a spacious place to keep the body for public viewing."

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hubballi/karnataka-muslim-man-who-was-voice-of-harmony-gets-secular-funeral/articleshow/89443392.cms

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Opposition seeks government reply on hijab, walks out of Lok Sabha

Feb 9, 2022

NEW DELHI: A day after Congress MP TN Pratahapan said in Lok Sabha that a Muslim woman’s ‘hijab (scarf)’ is a cultural and religious marker just like “the mangalsutra is for Hindus, the crucifix for Christians, and turbans for Sikhs”, opposition parties including Congress, DMK, IUML, CPM, CPI, VCK, MDMK and JMM on Tuesday demanded the government make a statement in the House on its position on the issue.

After the opposition’s protests failed to elicit a response from the treasury benches, the parties walked out of the Lok Sabha to register their protest.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/opposition-seeks-government-reply-on-hijab-walks-out-of-lok-sabha/articleshow/89440079.cms

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Teacher, Muslim student beaten as hijab row protests turn violent in Karnataka

09th February 2022

BENGALURU: Shocking details are emerging from the widespread incidents of violence from across Karnataka on Tuesday in the backdrop of hijab row.

The miscreants have attacked a teacher with iron rods causing severe head injuries to him in Bagalkot district. BJP MLA Haratalu Halappa stood as a mute spectator even as a student was beaten up by a mob in Shivamogga district.

Manjunath Naik (30), a school teacher has been attacked with iron rods by miscreants in Banahatti town of Bagalkot district after the violence erupted following students protest.

"I was crossing the road when a group of people attacked me with iron rods on my head. I couldn't realize what was happening," a bleeding Manjunath Naik explained to media persons.

He was taken to hospital by the police later. The situation is still tense in Banahatti town and the police has made elaborate arrangements to avoid any incident of violence.

In another incident, BJP MLA Haratalu Halappa remained a mute spectator even as the violent mob attacked a student. The incident happened when Halappa visited Sagar District Hospital to inquire about injured students in the stone pelting and lathicharge incident.

A large number of student groups have been stationed at the entrance of the hospital. The student groups tried to pour out complaints to Halappa. Hindu as well Muslim students raised slogans and condemned each other. Meanwhile, the incident took a violent turn when the saffron shawl cladding students suddenly attacked a student who was raising slogans in support of hijab.

Even as violence was unfolding before him, MLA Halappa did not make any attempt to stop the crowd involved in violence. The video has gone viral and drawing sharp reactions from the public.

In yet another incident in Mandya district, a hijab wearing college student had to bear the brunt of the anger of hundreds of students at PES College.

The students started raising slogans of Jai Shri Ram as soon as they spotted a hijab wearing student. Angered by this, the young woman raised the slogan of 'Allah hu Akbar'. The mob got more angry by this and started following the lady, raising the slogan of 'Jai Shri Ram' more vigorously.

C.B. Ryshyanth, Superintendent of Police of Davanagere district where prohibitory orders are clamped till Wednesday evening stated that, the police department has taken suo motu complaint of the violence that has taken place in Davanagere and Harihara twin cities.

"CCTV footage is available. Whoever is involved will not be spared. We don't make any arrests unnecessarily. I request people not to come out of their houses," he stated.

Siddaramaiah, the Opposition leader has slammed the ruling BJP government for the situation in the state. He said, the provocative statements by the Home and Education Ministers are responsible for the present situation in the state. The issue could have been solved at the local level in the initial stages. Now the ruling government is in a helpless state, he chided.

Meanwhile. K.S. Eshwarappa, Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj charged that Congress is behind the hijab crisis in the state for vote bank politics.

Karnataka HC adjourns hearing, requests students and public to maintain peace

In view of the tension prevailing inside and outside the campuses of several educational institutions in the state amid the hearing on pleas relating to the hijab row, the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday requested the student community and the public at large to maintain peace and tranquillity.

"The court has full faith in the wisdom and virtue in the public at large and hopes the same would be put to practice," Justice Krishna S Dixit observed in the interim order passed while adjourning the hearing to Wednesday.

This was after Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadagi submitted that there is a lot of tension at the campuses of several institutions, even though the court was hearing the arguments of both the sides in an important matter like this and that should be halted. In support of his submission, he read out the judgment passed by the apex court on the farmers' agitation.

Then senior advocate Devadutta Kamat, appearing for the petitioners-students, argued broadly in agreement with the submission of Advocate General. However, he opposed the blanket order against all agitators who are not party to the petition.

After having heard the counsel for the parties and pending further hearing, Justice Krishna S Dixit passed the interim order.

The court was hearing a batch of petitions about the hijab row including one petition in which students questioned the order passed by the state government on February 5 prescribing the uniform in school and college campuses.

Tension spreads to other colleges in Karnataka, government announces three-day holiday

To avoid any further unrest among students over the hijab row, the Karnataka government has declared a holiday for all high schools and colleges across the state for the next three days.

Source: New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2022/feb/09/teacher-muslim-student-beaten-as-hijab-row-protests-turn-violent-in-karnataka-2417039.html

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Hatred for Muslims normalised in India: Omar Abdullah over Karnataka 'hijab' row

08th February 2022

SRINAGAR:  Hatred for Muslims has been "normalised" in the country which "no longer celebrates its diversity", alleged National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Tuesday as protests for and against 'hijab' intensified at colleges in parts of Karnataka.

He was commenting on a video that has surfaced on social media showing some men sporting saffron scarves heckling a woman in 'hijab' and raising slogans at a college in Karnataka. "How brave these men are and how macho they must feel while targeting a lone young lady! Hatred for Muslims has been completely mainstreamed and normalised in India today. We are no longer a nation that celebrates our diversity, we want to punish and exclude people for it," Abdullah said in a tweet tagging the video with it.

Tension prevailed at some educational institutions in Karnataka's Udupi, Shivamogga, Bagalkote and other parts over the 'Hijab' issue, forcing the police and authorities to intervene. The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday is hearing the petitions filed by five girls studying in a Government Pre-university College in Udupi, questioning hijab restriction in college.

The issue began in January at a government PU College in Udupi where six students who attended classes wearing headscarves were asked to leave the campus. The matter has now spread to different parts of the state, with Hindu youngsters, backed by right-wing outfits, responding by wearing saffron scarves.

Source: New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2022/feb/08/hatred-for-muslims-normalised-in-india-omar-abdullah-over-karnataka-hijab-row-2416932.html

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Drones from Pakistan airdrop 2 wooden crates in Indian territory

Yudhvir Rana

Feb 9, 2022

AMRITSAR: Border Security Force (BSF) has recovered two wooden crates close to India-Pak international border in Punjab on Wednesday. The wooden crates suspected to contain explosives or drugs were airdropped by drones that had intruded inside Indian territory.

BSF deputy inspector general, Prabhakar Joshi informed that BSF jawans spotted movement of Unmanned Flying Vehicles (UAV) near BSF’s Panjgarayan Border outpost .

Punjab | Today at about 12:50 am, troops in Panjgrain heard buzzing of suspected flying object coming from Pakistan… https://t.co/vOZVvEBfWb

— ANI (@ANI) 1644378320000

”Drones movement was sighted twice at around 12.50 am following which BSF fired upon the drones which flew back to Pakistan,” said Joshi adding that following a search of the area BSF found two wooden crates which could have contained explosives or drugs.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/drones-from-pakistan-airdrop-2-wooden-crates-in-indian-territory/articleshow/89444495.cms

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NIA arrests recruiter in UP terror conspiracy case

Feb 9, 2022

LUCKNOW: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested another accused, Tauheed Ahmad, in its ongoing probe into the conspiracy by terror groups to carry out IED blasts in Uttar Pradesh.

The NIA took up the probe from UP Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) in July last year.

So far, NIA has filed a charge sheet against five arrested accused -- Minhaz Ahmad, Museeruddin, Shakeel, Moid and Mustaqeem. They were said to be in touch with terror outfit Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGuH), an auxiliary of al-Qaida.

The Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) had claimed that the accused were planning to trigger blasts around Independence Day celebrations in 2021.

Investigators had recovered an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in the form of a pressure cooker bomb from the Lucknow residence of an accused.

NIA said that accused Tauheed Ahmad Shah was arrested from Manchowa, in Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir.

"Investigation has revealed that the arrested accused Tauheed was the mastermind of the conspiracy for recruitment and to commit terrorist acts in the name of AGuH, including procurement of arms, ammunitions and explosive materials to be used for attacks in UP," the NIA sources said.

Sources said that during the questioning with the arrested accused Minhaz Ahmad and Museeruddin, the name of Tauheed Ahmad had cropped up.

On the basis of electronic surveillance, it was established that the earlier arrested five accused were also in touch with Tauheed and were given explosives and arms to be used in attacks at different places in UP.

Minhaz Ahmad was radicalized online by two al-Qaida terrorists based in Jammu and Kashmir and he had entered into a conspiracy with them for recruiting members for AGuH and for committing terrorist acts. Minhazthen recruited Museeruddin into al-Qaida fold and involved him in the conspiracy for committing terrorist acts in UP, the NIA said.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/nia-arrests-recruiter-in-up-terror-conspiracy-case/articleshow/89444214.cms

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Home ministry seeks more time to frame CAA rules

Vijaita Singh

FEBRUARY 08, 2022

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) sought has asked the parliamentary committee for more time to frame the rules of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA), on the grounds that consultation process is on.

The Hindu reported earlier that MHA had sought another extension on January 9 from the parliamentary committees on subordinate legislation in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha to frame the rules of the CAA.

Besides the consultation process, MHA said that the construction of the rules had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.Without the rules being framed, the Act cannot be implemented.

A senior government official said that MHA stated two grounds for seeking a three-months’ extension to notify the rules — consultation process and COVID-19. A Home Ministry spokesperson did not respond on the delay in framing the rules.

The BJP-led government in Assam had in 2020 requested the MHA to impose a three-month time limit to apply under the CAA, beyond which no one could benefit under the Act, and not keep it “open ended.”

CAA has the provision to grant citizenship to members of six non-Muslim undocumented minority communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who entered India before December 31, 2014. Several groups in Assam have opposed the CAA as it violates the provision of the 1985 Assam Accord that called for “detection and deportation” of all persons who entered the State from Bangladesh post March 24, 1971. The Supreme Court-monitored Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) published on August 31 last year, which excluded 19 lakh of the 3.4 crore applicants, was a fallout of the Assam Accord. The final NRC is yet to be implemented in Assam, the only State to have compiled such a register, as rejection slips to those excluded have not been issued by the authorities.

The tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram or Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution and States of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland and Manipur are exempted from CAA.

The CAA was passed by Parliament on December 11, 2019 and it received assent from the President on December 12. In January, 2020, the Ministry notified that the Act will come into force from January 10, 2020. The Ministry sought time till April 9, 2021 and then July 9, 2021 from the committees to notify the rules which are to be published in the Gazette of India.

Source: The Hindu

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https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/home-ministry-seeks-more-time-to-frame-caa-rules/article38394468.ece

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Arab World

 

ISIS likely to pick battle-hardened Iraqi as next leader: Officials, analysts

09 February ,2022

The next leader of ISIS is likely to be from a close circle of battle-hardened Iraqi extremists who emerged in the aftermath of the 2003 US invasion, two Iraqi security officials and three independent analysts said.

The group of potential successors to Abu Ibrahim al-Quraishi, who blew himself up during a US operation to capture him in Syria last week, includes one commander whom Washington and Baghdad declared killed last year, the Iraqi officials said.

The death of Quraishi, 45, was another crushing blow to ISIS two years after the violent group lost longtime leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a similar raid in 2019.

Quraishi, an Iraqi, never publicly addressed his fighters or followers, avoided electronic communications, and oversaw a move to fighting in small devolved units in response to intense pressure from Iraqi and US-led forces.

But those following ISIS closely expect it to name a successor in coming weeks, as the group which imposed brutal rule over vast swathes of Iraq and Syria from 2014 to 2017 continues a stubborn and deadly insurgency.

Fadhil Abu Rgheef, an Iraqi expert who advises its security services, said there were at least four possible successors.

“These include ... Abu Khadija, whose last known role was Iraq leader for Islamic State, Abu Muslim, its leader for Anbar province, and another called Abu Salih, of whom there’s very little information but who was close to Baghdadi and Quraishi,” he said.

“There’s also Abu Yassir al-Issawi, who is suspected to be still alive. He’s valuable to the group as he has long military experience.”

Issawi’s death in an air strike in January 2021 was reported at the time by both Iraqi forces as well as the US-led military coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

But an Iraqi security official confirmed there were strong suspicions Issawi is still alive. “If he’s not dead he’d be a candidate, he’s tried and tested in planning military attacks and has thousands of supporters,” the official said.

SECURITY SWEEP

The official added that ISIS was likely carrying out a security sweep for potential leaks that led to the death of Quraishi before convening to choose or announce a successor.

Hassan Hassan, editor of New Lines magazine which has published research on Quraishi, said the new leader would be a veteran Iraqi extremist.

“If they choose one in the coming weeks they’ll have to choose someone from among the same circle ... the group that was part of the Anbari group which operated under (the name) ISIS since the early days,” he said.

ISIS emerged from the militants that waged an increasingly sectarian-driven insurgency against US troops and Iraqi forces after 2003.

ISIS in Iraq, also known as al Qaeda in Iraq, was an offshoot of the global al Qaeda organization of Osama Bin Laden and the precursor to ISIS, which took shape in the chaos of Syria’s civil war across the border.

Baghdadi and Quraishi, both members of al Qaeda in Iraq from the start, did time in US detention in the mid-2000s. In contrast, none of the four potential successors to Quraishi had been captured by US forces, one security official and one army colonel told Reuters.

Officials and analysts in various countries agree ISIS is under more pressure than it’s ever been and will never restore its self-styled caliphate. But they are divided on how significant a setback Quraishi’s death is for the group.

Some say the fight against ISIS will suck in the United States and its allies for years to come as it develops into a permanent insurgency with new leaders ready to take the reins.

“In Syria, Islamic State units work as a devolved network of individual groups in order to avoid them being targeted. We don’t therefore believe that Quraishi’s death will have an enormous impact,” one of the Iraqi security officials said.

“It’s also become more difficult to follow them because they’ve long stopped using mobile phones for communication.”

Since their territorial defeat in Iraq in 2017 and Syria in 2019, ISIS leaders have found it increasingly easy to move between the two countries, helped by a gap in areas of control between different armed forces, some officials say.

Security and military officials said the 600 km (372 mile) long border with Syria made it very hard for Iraqi forces to prevent militants infiltrating via underground tunnels.

NEW LEADERSHIP STYLE

Lahur Talabany, former counter-terrorism chief for Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region, said some ISIS leaders can travel on a route across the full expanse of Iraq.

“When you see attacks increasing in a particular area I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody important has been through that region,” he told Reuters. “The caliphate was defeated but ISIS was never eradicated. I don’t believe we managed to finish the job.”

ISIS’ possession of land in Iraq and Syria set it apart from other like-minded groups such as al Qaeda and became central to its mission when it declared a caliphate in 2014, claiming sovereignty over all Muslim lands and peoples.

Fiercely anti-Western, the group also draws on Sunni-Shia tensions, saying Shias were infidels who deserve to be killed.

Abu Rgheef said the new leader could have stronger military credentials than Quraishi, who Iraqi officials say was seen by followers as more of an Islamic legal mind than a military man.

“Attacks and operations will change in character depending on the style of the new leader. The new one might believe in big and intensive attacks, bombs or suicide bombers,” he said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/02/09/ISIS-likely-to-pick-battle-hardened-Iraqi-as-next-leader-Officials-analysts

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Israel, UAE sign tourism, healthcare agreements

08 February ,2022

Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed cooperation agreements in the tourism and healthcare industries, diplomats and state media said on Twitter on Tuesday.

A healthcare partnership agreement provides for physicians from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to establish a center for disaster medicine in Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi government media office said.

Ministers from the two countries separately signed a memorandum of understanding to boost tourism activity, the Israeli consulate in Dubai said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/02/08/Israel-UAE-sign-tourism-healthcare-agreements

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Lebanon: Muslim cleric shunned for playing keyboard

February 07, 2022

LONDON: The Supreme Islamic Shiite Council in Lebanon disavowed Sheikh Ali Al-Husseini on Monday for playing a few notes on the keyboard during his appearance on the TV program “Over 18” in early February.

During the program, hosted on Al Jadeed channel, Al-Husseini said that he is always reduced to “the cleric who plays piano” despite studying religion and philosophy for more than 23 years.

Al-Husseini defended art on the program and equated it with existence, citing stories from the Qur’an to support his position.

The program provoked mixed reactions from the Lebanese people, with some encouraging him to continue to challenge the stereotypes surrounding religious figures. Others, particularly Lebanese religious figures, took a more critical stance.

The council’s religious reporting authority issued a statement in which it considered that Al-Husseini had attached “to Islam a culture that is contrary to the religion, and that Islam is innocent of.”

The statement further described Al-Husseini as “impersonating a religious scholar” and called on believers to “shun him.”

During the program, Al-Husseini also refused to consider a woman’s voice “a defect,” adding that the saying is not mentioned in the Qur’an nor in the Hadiths. He also defended Lebanese music star Fairuz, claiming that all her songs are modest and do not provoke temptation.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2020101/offbeat

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Lebanon’s Hezbollah chief describes Kuwaiti proposals to Lebanon as ‘dictates’

09 February ,2022

The head of Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah on Tuesday described as “dictates” a recent Kuwaiti list of proposals aimed at repairing Lebanon’s ties with Gulf Arab nations, strained largely over what the say is Hezbollah’s growing influence.

“Lebanon is a sovereign country and should not be sent dictates,” Hassan Nasrallah said in an interview on Arabic-language Iranian TV channel al-Alam when asked to comment on the proposals.

A diplomatic source previously told Reuters that the proposals included a request to step up security in Lebanon, prevent drug smuggling to the Gulf and hold May parliamentary elections on time.

Nasrallah added that he nonetheless supported Lebanese-Gulf dialogue.

Lebanon’s ties to the Arab Gulf and particularly Saudi Arabia, formerly a major donor to Beirut, hit rock bottom last year over what the Saudi foreign minister said was Hezbollah’s growing influence in the country. Relations had deteriorated for years, causing knock-on effects within Lebanon.

Top Sunni Muslim political leader and ex-prime minister Saad Hariri, a former close ally of Saudi Arabia who has since lost its backing, announced his withdrawal from politics last month and said he would not field candidates, upending elections.

Hariri cited Iran’s growing role in Lebanon as one of the reasons for his exit.

Nasrallah described Hariri’s decision as “unfortunate,” adding: “We were hoping it wouldn’t happen, but it happened.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/02/09/Lebanon-s-Hezbollah-chief-describes-Kuwaiti-proposals-to-Lebanon-as-dictates-

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Israel’s police chief cuts short UAE trip over spyware probe

08 February ,2022

Israel’s police commissioner cut short an official foreign trip Tuesday and rushed home to deal with a growing scandal over reports of illegal spying, including on members of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s inner circle.

Under mounting pressure, Kobi Shabtai returned early Tuesday from the United Arab Emirates, where the police forces were to establish professional ties during a longer visit. The decision came a day after a local newspaper reported that police illegally used spyware, including on the phones of Netanyahu’s son and others, prompting a high-level investigation and upending the opposition leader’s corruption trial.

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

“In light of recent publications and in order to keep a close eye on developments, the commissioner will shorten his visit,” the police said in a statement, noting that Shabtai supports an investigation headed by a judge. The national police force, the statement added, “has nothing to hide from the public.”

Shabtai’s early return reflected the seriousness of the allegations reported by the Calcalist business newspaper, which have ricocheted across Israel’s political and legal landscapes. In addition to Netanyahu’s circle, targets have included former ministry directors, mayors and political activists.

The reports have said that police used the powerful Pegasus surveillance software, made by Israeli firm NSO Group. Pegasus has been linked to a number of abuses by authoritarian governments around the world.

On Monday, the outlet claimed that Pegasus had become “one of the most used tools for intelligence collection in the hands of the police” and had been used against politicians, protesters, business moguls, ministry directors and Netanyahu’s close advisers and son. Like previous reports, the paper cited no sources, but for the first time named people allegedly surveilled by the police.

The police denied the allegations and on Tuesday said no evidence of illegal activity had been uncovered. But the reports drew condemnation from across Israel’s political spectrum. They threw Netanyahu’s ongoing corruption trial into disarray after a key witnesses was named as a victim of the alleged hack. A second consecutive hearing, scheduled for Wednesday, was canceled.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Tuesday called for an examination of the more than two dozen names reported to have been targets of the snooping after meeting with Cabinet ministers and the attorney general, his office said.

Netanyahu demanded a “strong and independent investigation” into the alleged misuse of the spyware, calling it a “black day for Israel” as proceedings in his trial were put on hold.

Public Security Minister Omer Barlev, who oversees the nation’s police force, announced the a government commission of inquiry headed by a retired judge to “investigate in depth the violation of civil rights and privacy in the years in question.” He said the alleged violations appear to have been carried out under former officials in previous governments.

Israel’s previous police chief, Roni Alsheikh, who was in command during much of the alleged snooping, made his first comments since the reports were published. The Hebrew news website Ynet quoted him denying any wrongdoing, adding that any surveillance of a public official’s phone would require the attorney general’s approval and that any use of spyware would be logged. He called the report “the most superficial there is.”

Calcalist said the police used spyware against a phone registered to Netanyahu’s son, Avner, as well as two communications advisers and the wife of another defendant in one of three corruption cases against the former leader.

It remains unclear whether any of the information allegedly gathered was used against Netanyahu. Also unclear is whether any of the information allegedly gathered was used against the former prime minister.

Barlev’s probe follows announcements by Israeli police and the attorney general’s office that they would investigate. Last week, police for the first time acknowledged finding evidence pointing to improper use of spyware.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/02/08/Israel-s-police-chief-cuts-short-UAE-trip-over-spyware-probe

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Al-Azhar launches trial Braille version of Qur’an to help the blind

MOHAMMED AL-SHAMAA

February 09, 2022

CAIRO: An experimental copy of the Qur’an written in Braille for the blind was recently displayed by Al-Azhar Al-Sharif at its stand at the 53rd Cairo International Book Fair, which ended on Monday, Feb. 7.

Al-Azhar Press, under the guidance and patronage of the Grand Imam Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Sheikh of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, took on the project of printing the Qur’an in Braille using the latest printing systems.

Al-Azhar said in a statement that this trial version of the Qur’an featured the written words of the Qur’an alongside prominent Braille letters to achieve societal cooperation between the sighted and the blind in memorising and reading the Qur’an.

According to the statement, this step was taken by Al-Azhar due to its belief in taking care of people with disabilities including the blind, and as an extension of Al-Azhar’s mission in spreading the Qur’an and its sciences.

The experimental version that Al-Azhar displayed in the exhibition is characterised by its large size and special thick cardboard, where the dots are clear and prominent so that they can be easily read using the fingertips.

Braille is a method of reading and writing used by the blind and visually impaired. It was named after its French inventor, Louis Braille, who lost his sight at the age of three. Louis found that using the dots system to read and write was easier and faster than the previous method of using prominent printed letters.

Production manager at Al-Azhar Press, Hossam El-Din Mounir, told Arab News that the idea of implementing the Qur’an in Braille came from a desire to help the blind. “We designed a trial version to gauge people’s opinions first, and then we will start in its final implementation,” he said.

Dr. Eman Karim, general supervisor of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities, thanked Al-Azhar in her statements to Arab News for making the Qur’an available in Braille for people with visual disabilities, who represented 5 percent of the Egyptian community, according to the 2015 census.

She said that Al-Azhar’s adoption of the project was a serious step by a long-standing institution that believes in the effective role of this group in Egyptian society, and as an extension of its mission to spread the Qur’an and its sciences to all members of society.

Karim called on state education authorities to follow the example of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif by making cultural publications available to people with disabilities, contributing to raising awareness, especially the process of religious education to combat extremist ideas that aim to destabilize the security and stability of the country.

Akram Abed Janov, a visually impaired student at Al-Azhar from Uzbekistan, said during his visit to the Al-Azhar pavilion at the Cairo International Book Fair that he admired the idea, which provided support to blind students.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2021121/middle-east

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South Asia

 

Acting Defence Minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Calls on Ulema to Help

February 8, 2022

Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, acting defence minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), has called on the Ulema to help reform and organize a national army.

Yaqoob, in a meeting with the Ulema, urged clerics to support the current political system and help organize IEA forces.

“Now the Islamic political system is in place we need your cooperation to organize and reform the Mujahideen. Cooperate with us to lead the ministry of defence,” said Yaqoob.

According to him, the ministry of defence appreciates advice from the Ulema and he said everyone will obey their instructions.

“If you do not support us, we will be misled and will do what the former government employees did,” said Yaqoob.

Source: Ariana News

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

https://ariananews.af/mullah-yaqoob-calls-on-ulema-to-help-organize-and-reform-army/?3B8A4AA9-3383-014A-ABB8

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Bangladesh and Myanmar Resume Talks on Rohingya Repatriation

By Shafi Md Mostofa

February 08, 2022

Bangladesh and Myanmar have resumed talks on repatriating Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar.

The first-ever meeting of the recently formed technical level Ad-Hoc Task Force for Verification of the Displaced Persons from Rakhine was held virtually on January 27. During the meeting, “both sides expressed readiness” to continue working closely to address “reasons causing delay in the verification” of the past residency of those displaced from Myanmar’s Rakhine state, a statement issued by the Bangladesh Foreign Office said.

Repatriation talks had been in a state of suspension since the Myanmar military staged a coup on February 1 last year.

The resumption of repatriation talks will be welcomed in Bangladesh. The country has been bearing a heavy burden in providing refuge to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who fled persecution in Myanmar over the decades. Since August 25, 2017, Bangladesh has been hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas.

The majority-Muslim Rohingya have lived for centuries in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

While the flow of Rohingya from Myanmar’s Rakhine region into areas that comprise today’s Bangladesh began in 1942, when nearly 22,000 people crossed the Naf river and entered the Bengal region, the roots of the current crisis can be traced back to 1962. The military coup that year resulted in the Rohingya – like other ethnic groups in Myanmar – being denied the right to vote. The Rohingya, however, were subjected to other restrictions and discrimination as well. The 1982 Citizenship Act of Myanmar formally denied the group citizenship rights, as a result of which the Rohingya are today that largest stateless community in the world.

In the decades since, the Myanmar state has subjected the Rohingya to systematic discrimination, even persecution. In addition to stripping them of their rights, including citizenship rights, it has subjected them to extreme violence. This has triggered an exodus of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya from Myanmar’s Rakhine state. Many have headed to neighboring Bangladesh. In 1992, for instance, some 250,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh.

Since 1992, the flow of Rohingya escaping persecution in Myanmar into Bangladesh has happened at regular intervals. In 2017-18, a coordinated campaign of military violence, which a United Nations fact-finding mission deemed as genocide, forced over a million Rohingya to seek refuge in Bangladesh.

After some initial resistance, Bangladesh opened its border to the Rohingya on humanitarian grounds. Camps in Cox’s Bazar, which borders Rakhine state, provided them a temporary home.

Rohingya repatriation has been a challenging problem for Bangladesh, with processes and agreements proving to be still-born.

On November 23, 2017, Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a repatriation agreement. However, the two sides had not agreed on a concrete process of repatriation or on a deadline for completion of the repatriation. They did not disclose the contents of the agreement either. Rohingya organizations worldwide criticized the agreement as it envisaged moving refugees back to Myanmar when a “congenial atmosphere” for their “safe and voluntary repatriation with dignity and honor” had not been created. They called for the UNHCR’s involvement in the repatriation process and for citizenship to be restored to the Rohingya.

Two subsequent repatriation attempts failed. In November 2018, 2,260 Rohingya were identified for repatriation. The attempt failed as they refused to return to Myanmar without assurances for their safety.

In August 2019, of a list of 55,000 Rohingya 3,450 were cleared for repatriation. However, Rohingya leaders were skeptical about the repatriation process. They were not aware of any repatriation plan of the government, they said, and demanded that safety, security, and citizenship be made preconditions for repatriation.

“We don’t know what is happening… We will only repatriate through dialogues (about the preconditions). Without dialogues, no repatriation,” Rohingya community leader Mohib Ullah, who was subsequently assassinated in 2021, said.

At a tripartite virtual meeting mediated by China in January 2021, Bangladesh put forward a proposal for a village-based repatriation process, so that those returning home would feel safe. But Myanmar said that it would like to start off by repatriating 42,000 refugees who had been verified from a list of some 830,000 Rohingyas living in camps in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh.

At the meeting, Myanmar sought assurances that the Rohingya would abide by Myanmar’s laws, and China and Myanmar responded positively to Dhaka’s suggestion to keep an international community presence in Rakhine when Rohingya repatriation began. The meeting appears to have gone well. “I would say we remain cautiously optimistic,” Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen told the Bangladeshi media after the meeting.

A little over a week later, the Myanmar military staged a coup. This put the repatriation process on ice. A tripartite Bangladesh-China-Myanmar working group meeting scheduled for February 4 never happened.

Over the past year, Myanmar has been plunged into chaos and conflict. Military offensives, which include aerial bombing of villages and civilians, have triggered new population flows out of the country. There is no doubt that this civil conflict will hamper peaceful and voluntary repatriation of the Rohingya.

The recent virtual meeting was a bilateral meeting, and China was not directly involved in it.

Bangladesh has not been successful in involving its development partners to facilitate the repatriation of the Rohingya back to their homeland. Indeed, some of its development partners have backed the Myanmar state on the Rohingya issue.

This was the case, for instance, when China and Russia supported Myanmar on a United Nations General Assembly resolution on human rights violations against the Rohingya on December 31, 2020. Surprisingly, India abstained from the vote. China and India are influential in Myanmar to some extent as they are Naypyidaw’s development partners.

In the current political situation in Myanmar, China and Russia have the most clout of any foreign governments. While Russia is a major weapons supplier, China is Myanmar’s number one investor. Both are U.N. Security Council veto-wielding powers and hence, in a position to push the Myanmar military to take robust measures to speed up repatriation of the Rohingya.

China and Russia have strong ties with Bangladesh too and Dhaka should use the country’s strategic and rising economic importance to get them to facilitate the repatriation process.

Source: The Diplomat

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

https://thediplomat.com/2022/02/bangladesh-and-myanmar-resume-talks-on-rohingya-repatriation/

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Armed clash breaks out between Taliban, local residents in Afghanistan's Panjshir

09th February 2022

PANJSHIR [Afghanistan]: The Taliban has surrounded the Parandeh valley in Afghanistan's Panjshir province and arrested local residents, as per local sources.

This armed clash between residents and the Taliban in Panjshir province broke out after a Taliban vehicle was hit by a mine explosion.

According to the sources, the armed clash has been going on in the area as of February 7 in the province.

The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated drastically since the Taliban took control of Kabul last year in mid-August.

Source: New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/world/2022/feb/09/armed-clash-breaks-out-between-taliban-local-residents-in-afghanistans-panjshir-2417250.html

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Ex-UK Defence Chief Suggests Recognition of Islamic Emirate

Feb 9, 2022

The former UK defence chief David Richards recently suggested that the West recognize the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan.

Interviewing with the BBC, General Sir David Richards said it is time to accept that the war has been lost in Afghanistan and it is necessary for the world to work with the new leadership of Afghanistan to assist the people as they are facing a crisis.

“I think the West is going to end up recognizing the Taliban government. If that's the case, then we better get on with it sooner rather than later,” said David Richards.

He added: “There's a great phrase: be magnanimous in victory. I think this is the occasion for us to be magnanimous in defeat.”

These remarks come as no country has officially recognized the Islamic Emirate as a government since it came to power in August.

“The Americans were strategically defeated in Afghanistan, they have to accept this defeat, because the government that was the result of the 20-year presence of NATO and the US collapsed in front of America’s eyes,” said Gen Samar Sadat, a military expert.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Emirate believes that international engagement with Afghanistan will benefit both Afghanistan and world countries. “This is our request: that all countries engage and help the Afghan people and recognize the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman of the Islamic Emirate.

Forming an inclusive government, fighting insurgency and respecting human rights, especially the rights of women and girls, have been set as preconditions for recognizing new rulers in Afghanistan by Western countries.

“The Taliban needs internal legitimacy for legitimacy, and some laws and principles need to be adopted from which a government can be built,” said Shukria Barakzai, former MP.

Source: Tolo News

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

https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-176638

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Two sisters and mother assassinated in Kabul, Taliban arrested assassin

09 Feb 2022

Security officials of the Afghan capital Kabul said that they have arrested the young man who assassinated two sisters and their mother in Police District 7 of the city.

Two young sisters and their mother were choked on Tuesday morning.

Close relatives of the slain sisters and mother said that a man named Ramin broke into the house of the victims and choked the three.

They added that the sisters were nine and thirteen years old.

Spokesperson of the Kabul Police Khalid Zadran said that they have arrested a man named Ramin who has confessed his crimes of having killed three women in Kabul.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/two-sisters-and-mother-assassinated-in-kabul-taliban-arrested-assassin-87568/

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Stuck in limbo, Afghan students lose hope of returning to Indian universities

SANJAY KUMAR

February 08, 2022

NEW DELHI: Noor Zahid Paiman wanted to obtain his computer science degree from an Indian university this year and return to Afghanistan to become a lecturer.

But like many other Afghan students enrolled in Indian colleges, he has been unable to go to his campus at Sharda University in Noida for half a year now, waiting for his visa to be renewed.

About 4,000 students from Afghanistan used to arrive in India every year to pursue higher education — hundreds of them on Indian government scholarships.

Many traveled home last year when India went into a lockdown during a devastating second wave of the pandemic. They have been unable to return ever since, as the lifting of virus restrictions in India coincided with the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in mid-August, which prompted New Delhi’s decision to suspend diplomatic ties with Kabul.

The students have been holding numerous protests in front of Indian consulates across the country. In the latest one last week, dozens demonstrated in front of the Indian embassy building.

“Our future is at stake now since we have already missed one full semester due to lack of visa,” Paiman, a native of the eastern Khost province, told Arab News over the phone.

“For five months, I have been stranded here and my final year exam is already happening. I am really nervous about what’s going to happen to my future,” he said. “I had plans to become a university professor and work for our people.”

When the Indian embassy suspended its operations, it canceled the visas it had issued, asking holders to reapply online. 

Students say there has been no response to their applications. “I had a valid visa, but the Indian government canceled it, and this happened with around 2,500 students who are stuck in Afghanistan,” Paiman said.

Farzana Ayubi, also from Khost, found herself in the same situation. She wondered why New Delhi has not helped them leave Afghanistan like other countries did.

“Other countries who were not close to Kabul evacuated Afghan students,” the second-year business student at Goa University said. “Russia, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, European countries and Bangladesh evacuated their students from Afghanistan, but India is still waiting.”

Jalal Ahmad Baryal, from the Oruzgan province, was worried about what would happen as he was about to miss his final exams at the Gandhi Institute of Technology and Management in Bangalore.

“For 20 years, the Indian government was with us,” he said. “But in this hour of grave crisis, it is not helping us.”

It is unclear whether the student visa policy will change.

“On the specific issue of visas, I have to refer you to the Home Ministry,” India’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.

But officials at the Home Ministry have not replied since last week despite attempts to reach them. The Afghan Embassy in New Delhi said it is also waiting for Indian authorities to respond.

“It’s a difficult situation for us,” Abdul Haq Azad, press secretary at the embassy, told Arab News. “We have been pursuing the matter with the Indian government for the last few months, but so far there has not been any response.”

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2020861/world

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Pakistan

 

IMF wants Pakistan to ‘do more’ than just levying taxes

February 9, 2022

LAHORE: Pakistan should not be limited to taking measures related to tax alone, but it should also find other ways to enhance the competitiveness of the economy, said IMF’s Resident Representative Ms Esther Perez Ruiz.

Speaking to the office-bearers of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday, she said the purpose of the IMF programme is to promote macroeconomic stability and the country’s fiscal and monetary policies must promote the former’s vision in this regard.

She said the IMF programme’s aim is to bring a set of policies that could promote sustainable and inclusive growth.

She maintained that since the country’s tax-to-GDP ratio is very low, the purpose of eliminating sales tax exemptions to the industry through the recent finance bill is to reduce the complexity in the taxation system.

“We want Pakistan to attain a long-lasting and durable growth. And for this there is need to first endeavour to implement the macroeconomic policies, leading to the country’s economic development,” she said.

“However, we will remain open to hear remarks, observations and concerns [on the IMF programme] from your end,” Ms Ruiz said.

Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir said the chamber is quite sensitive about the impact of Pakistan’s ongoing 22nd IMF programme on the national economy and particularly on the private sector growth. “We will, however, witness the successful completion of this programme as well just like the 21st programme,” he added.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1674090/imf-wants-pakistan-to-do-more-than-just-levying-taxes

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Saudi Arabia eases travel restrictions for Pakistani pilgrims

Ikram Junaidi

February 9, 2022

ISLAMABAD: While Pakistan achieved another milestone in the fight against coronavirus by vaccinating over two million people in a day, Saudi Arabia has eased travel restrictions for the pilgrims from Pakistan intending to perform Umrah by revising the Covid-19 guidelines.

The development coincided with the national positivity rate dropping to 5.34 per cent across the country, where less than 3,000 cases were reported in a day after a one-month hiatus.

According to the fresh guidelines for pilgrims from Pakistan intending to perform Umrah, at the time of departure the travellers will be required to submit only a negative PCR test report that should not be more than 48 hours old.

The new directives will apply with effect from Feb 16 to all people intending to perform Umrah regardless of their vaccination or immunity status, Radio Pakistan reported.

A National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) document available with Dawn mentioned seven vaccines — Sinopharm, Sinovac, PakVac or Cansino, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Sputnik — were being administered to people across the country. It showed that 68pc population is vaccine eligible, with 153,615,747 (153.6m) of 228,567,704 (228.5m) people being eligible for vaccine.

The NCOC data showed 2,017,179 doses were administered during the past one day. Overall 187,996,736 (187.9m) doses have been administered. While 111,408,710 (111.4m) people have received at least one dose, 87,052,879 (87m) of them have become fully vaccinated. Besides, 3,114,587 (3.1m) people have also received booster shots.

As the country managed to administer record over 2m doses in a day, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Faisal Sultan in a congratulatory message tweeted: “Highest daily vaccine doses administered yesterday in Pakistan. Over 2 million. Well done everyone!.”

However, according to the NCOC data, 37 patients died and 2,799 more cases were detected in past 24 hours. There were as many as 1,668 patients in critical care on Tuesday.

As the number of cases reported on a daily cases dropped, major cities including Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad reported less than 10pc positivity while seven cities mainly in northern parts of the country reported over 10pc positivity.

Karachi that had been showing around 40pc positivity just a few weeks ago reported 7.65pc positivity, Islamabad’s positivity rate fell to 8.53pc, Lahore 4.19, Rawalpindi reported 2.36pc, whereas 2.2pc positivity was recorded in Faisalabad.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1674091/saudi-arabia-eases-travel-restrictions-for-pakistani-pilgrims

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Pakistan wades into Karnataka hijab row, minister says India terrorising Muslim girl students

Feb 09, 2022

Islamabad: Pakistan Wednesday waded into the hijab row that has engulfed the state of Karnataka amid the ban on wearing religious clothes in classrooms at schools and colleges.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi alleged that India was violating Muslim girls' fundamental right by denying them the opportunity to wear hijab in educational institutions. Qureshi called the move oppressive and alleged Muslim girls were being terrorised. He did not stop here and said the ban on wearing a hijab was part of India's plan of ghettoisation of Muslims.

Here is what the Pakistani minister tweeted today:

"Depriving Muslim girls of an education is a grave violation of fundamental human rights. To deny anyone this fundamental right & terrorise them for wearing a hijab is absolutely oppressive. World must realise this is part of Indian state plan of ghettoisation of Muslims."

It may be recalled that the BJP government in Karnataka had last week ordered a ban on wearing clothes that disturb equality, integrity and public order in schools and colleges. The move had come after a college in Udupi had prevented girl students from attending classes while wearing hijab. The row has now spread across the state and the state high court is seized of the matter, with a ruling expected today.

The Karnataka government Tuesday ordered the closure of schools and colleges across the state in view of the volatile situation following standoffs between hijab-wearing girl students and saffron symbol displaying boys.

Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai yesterday issued an appeal to the students.

"I appeal to all the students, teachers and management of schools and colleges as well as people of Karnataka to maintain peace and harmony. I have ordered closure of all high schools and colleges for next three days. All concerned are requested to cooperate," he tweeted.

Source: Times Now News

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

https://www.timesnownews.com/india/article/pakistan-wades-into-karnataka-hijab-row-minister-says-india-terrorising-muslim-girl-students/857189

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Europe

 

England: Cambridge Central Mosque donates tonnes food to vulnerable during pandemic

February 9, 2022

This week, Cambridge Central Mosque of England donated 8.8 tonnes of food to Cambridge Sustainable Food.

The donation came with support from national charity, Islamic Relief UK and included large amounts of staple ingredients including rice, pasta, oil, pulses, olives, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, soups, salt, tea bags, stock cubes and much more.

Muhammad Ashraf, director of Cambridge Central Mosque, said: “We are honoured to be able to help the most vulnerable in our local community at a time of tremendous need. The pandemic has hit a lot of families very hard and many are struggling to make ends meet.

“One may not realise the extent of poverty in Cambridge, but it’s our duty to look after those in need as best as we can, and we are grateful to be able to work with partner organisations to fulfil that responsibility together.”

A portion of this food donation was delivered directly to the community food hub at the Edge Café on Mill Road, which is open six days a week for people to access food for free.

The rest will be shared amongst the other seven community food hubs operating across the city, distributed as dry food packs to local households in need as well as with other community organisations supporting residents facing food poverty in Cambridge over the coming months.

Sam Dyer MBE, CEO of Cambridge Sustainable Food, said: “We are so grateful for this support from Cambridge Central Mosque and the local Islamic community. Food insecurity has been a longstanding issue in Cambridge, one which has only been made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic.

"This shows what we can do as a city when we work together to support some of the most disadvantaged in our city.

"Cambridge Sustainable Food CIC and the Food Poverty Alliance, will continue to work together to transform the city’s local food system for the better, building a fairer and more sustainable food future for all in Cambridge.

"Support like this from the local community is invaluable when it comes to making this possible.

Source: ABNA24

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

https://en.abna24.com/news//england-cambridge-central-mosque-donates-tonnes-food-to-vulnerable-during-pandemic_1227558.html

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French Muslims concerned about anti-Muslim sentiment in elections

FEB 09, 2022

Muslims living in France are disturbed about the fact that Islam has emerged as one of the key battlegrounds in the country's presidential election campaign, amid bursts of anti-Muslim sentiment.

Far-right candidates Marine Le Pen of the National Rally (RN) and especially the former pundit Eric Zemmour have railed against Islam in frequent diatribes invoking security and terrorism risks.

Their messages are sometimes echoed by officials on the conservative right and allies of centrist President Emmanuel Macron, with their "warnings" against Muslims.

Such a fierce campaign debate about Islam would be less conceivable in neighbors like Britain and Germany, which also both have large Muslim minorities.

France, however, still lives in the shadow of the trauma of Algeria's War of Independence and, more recently, the Daesh terrorist attacks of 2015.

Zemmour, who is contending with Le Pen and the traditional rightwing candidate Valerie Pecresse to reach a second-round run-off against Macron, caused a fresh outcry Monday by describing the town of Roubaix in northern France as "Afghanistan two hours from Paris."

He told France Inter Radio: "French people who are Muslims must live in the French way and not consider that sharia law is superior to the laws of the republic."

His comments added to a febrile atmosphere that meant that a journalist had to be given police protection after a televised report about the rise of Islam in Roubaix.

The official division of church and state in France in 1905 left secularism as one of the cornerstones of the modern republic's identity.

Macron's government in 2021 also brought in a new law to defend France against what the president has described as "Islamist separatism."

'Deep scars'

The end of colonial rule prompted large migration flows into France in the 1950s and 1960s, but the economic crisis that hit in the 1970s saw many of the newcomers stuck without work in housing developments soon abandoned by the middle class.

While Britain and Germany also grappled with large postwar migrant arrivals, no other European colonial power fought a war whose ferocity, duration and consequences can compare with the Algerian War of Independence.

"The migration issue is particularly present in France because it awakens the difficult memory of the Algerian war," political scientist Pascal Perrineau told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

This "left deep scars in the collective consciousness," he said.

But while the debate on Islam has been ever-present in France – which in 2011 banned full veil face coverings for women – many Muslims who make up almost 9% of the country's mainland population are shocked by current levels of rhetoric.

"Sometimes I tell myself that no one can understand quite how violent this is," said Fatma Bouvet de la Maisonneuve, a psychiatrist of Tunisian origin and author of the book "An Arab Woman in France."

Acknowledging that people can be tempted to turn in upon themselves, she said: "Frankly, sometimes we just want to meet among Arabs to tell each other how bad things are," she said.

'Chasing public opinion'

Marine Le Pen's father Jean-Marie Le Pen, who made it to the second round in the 2002 presidential vote, has shocked much of France with repeated broadsides against Islam and immigrants.

French Muslims fear that such rhetoric has now been normalized and increasingly supported by widespread news reports and the saturation of social media.

"I feel bad, very bad," said Khadija, 38, a social worker in the Loiret region in central France, who asked that her second name be withheld.

"I have the impression that today's France spits on my grandparents, who fought to liberate it, on my parents who came to build its roads, and on me, who has respected all the rules of democracy and integration.

"A few days ago, my five-year-old daughter told me that she did not like being Arab," she said, complaining of "living under permanent suspicion, no longer knowing what's behind the baker's smile, or what people really think."

For Kamel, who works for a charity association, the attacks on the night of Nov. 13, 2015, changed everything. Daesh terrorists massacred 130 people in and around Paris at locations including restaurants and the Bataclan music venue.

"I parted ways with many of my friends who were beginning to link Muslims with terrorism," he said.

Source: Daily Sabah

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

https://www.dailysabah.com/world/europe/french-muslims-concerned-about-anti-muslim-sentiment-in-elections

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Taliban delegation in Geneva

February 9, 2022

GENEVA: A Taliban delegation has arrived in Geneva for talks with Swiss officials and NGOs on humanitarian access and human rights, Switzerland’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

The delegation from Afghanistan’s new rulers is due to hold talks with the Red Cross and other non-governmental organisations in the Swiss city, which is also home to several United Nations agencies.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1674097/taliban-delegation-in-geneva

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2 suspected British Daesh members arrested in Afghanistan

February 08, 2022

LONDON: Two men suspected of joining Daesh were seized by the Taliban as they tried to enter Afghanistan last August, an investigation by The Guardian has revealed.

They are thought to be the first reported case of international recruitment by Daesh since the US and its NATO allies left Afghanistan last year.

The men, one carrying a British passport and one with another European passport, were arrested on the Uzbek-Afghan border with more than £10,000 ($13,523) in cash, military fatigues and night-vision goggles in their bags, according to a Taliban source.

“There was one passport from England and one from another country in Europe,” the source told The Guardian, adding that both men were of Afghan descent and had used British passports to enter Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent.

It is not clear, The Guardian added, whether they had an additional European passport or whether the source was confused.

Their interception is a reminder for Western authorities that Daesh maintains an allure to some of their own citizens, despite the terror group’s territorial defeat in Iraq and Syria.

Hundreds of Britons traveled to Daesh’s so-called caliphate at its height, but these men represent the first reported case of international recruitment by Daesh since the Taliban took power.

Daesh’s Afghanistan presence has already proven problematic for the Taliban, having experienced a number of terror attacks, including suicide bombings — much like those they used against NATO forces and the former Afghan government — since taking over.

According to the UN, Daesh’s Afghan division has a presence in every province.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2020711/world

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UK’s Corbyn urges world leaders to hold Israel to account for violations of Palestinians' rights

06 February 2022

British lawmakers and former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has called on world leaders and governments to hold the Israeli regime to account for its “despicable” abuse of native Palestinians, further slamming Western “democracies” for often ignoring the Israeli atrocities.

“There must be an urgent effort from world leaders and governments to hold the Israeli government to account for their despicable treatment of Palestinians, to end the apartheid and bring peace to the region, with justice, dignity and the guarantee of equal human rights for all,” Corbyn emphasized in a series of Twitter posts on Saturday.

He pointed to a recent Amnesty International report laying bare the Zionist regime’s abusive treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories.

“Leading global democracies, such as the UK, US and European Union, have all too often walked by on the other side when the plight of the Palestinian people is laid bare in the international media, or tirelessly campaigned on by organizations such as Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Human Rights Watch,” added the British politician.

He referred to Amnesty’s “comprehensive report” -- released earlier in the week – detailing the Tel Aviv regime’s treatment of Palestinians in the occupied Palestine “as well as refugees displaced by conflict and violence across the Middle East.”

The development came as the US State Department reaffirmed its support for the Israeli regime after the international rights group censured Tel Aviv for imposing “apartheid" on Palestinians.

"The department’s own reports have never used such terminology," US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said during a press briefing on Tuesday, insisting that the Department "reject[s] the view that Israel's actions constitute apartheid."

Price further claimed that the US had its "own rigorous standards and processes for making determinations on potential human rights abuses."

This is while Washington regularly grants the Zionist regime with nearly $3 billion worth of lethal aid annually. It has also used its veto power at the United Nations Security Council to block almost every resolution critical of the regime’s atrocities over the decades.

The remarks came after the rights body found the Israeli regime culpable of exercising “apartheid” across the occupied Palestinian territories.

The group has become the latest human rights organization to blame the regime for apartheid in its abusive treatment of Palestinians.

The nearly 300-page report details "inhuman or inhumane acts of forcible transfer, administrative detention, torture, unlawful killings and serious injuries, and the denial of basic rights and freedoms or persecution committed against the Palestinian population," creating "an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination over Palestinians."

“Palestinians are treated as an inferior racial group and are systematically deprived of their rights,” the report further underlined.

Also last week, over 40 members of the US Congress called on the Biden administration to lead efforts to block a UN commission probing the Israeli regime’s war crimes against Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The bipartisan group of 42 staunchly pro-Israel Congress members – led by New Jersey Democrat Josh Gottheimer and Missouri Republican Vicky Hartzler – claimed in a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the probe into the Israeli war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories reflected a "continued broader bias against Israel," further demanding that the UN should focus its attention elsewhere.

"Please know that while Congress may be divided on the Administration's decision to rejoin the [UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC)], we stand united in urging you to act upon the Administration's commitment to defend Israel from discriminatory treatment at the Human Rights Council and throughout the UN system," the letter read as cited in a report by the UK-based Middle East Eye.

The official letter falsely alleged that UNHRC’s mandate is "designed to accelerate the political, economic, and legal challenges to Israel and undermine its legitimacy by pressuring international legal institutions to take action against Israeli leaders."

Meanwhile, a US-based non-profit group released a short film late last month documenting the Israeli regime’s killing of 77 Palestinian children in 2021 as part its campaign to halt the flow of massive American funds to support the occupying entity.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/02/05/676257/UK-Jeremy-Corbyn-hold-Israeli-regime-liable-abuse-of-Palestinians

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Italy calls on Bahrain to release detained rights activist 'Abduljalil Al-Singace'

February 9, 2022

The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent a strongly-worded letter calling on Bahrain to free detained human rights activist, Abduljalil Al-Singace.

In the letter sent to Americans for Human Rights and Democracy in Bahrain (AHRDB), the ministry said: "Matters of human rights violations constitute a pivotal issue not only for Italy but for all European Union countries."

It added that the European Union has raised the issue of human rights violations in Bahrain, particularly Al-Singace's detention, during a high-level meeting last year.

Italy said it is pressing to push Bahrain to commit to its human rights obligations.

Bahraini authorities arrested Al-Singace in 2011 after he participated in peaceful protests calling for changes in the country. He was jailed for allegedly trying to overthrow the regime.

Source: ABNA24

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

https://en.abna24.com/news//italy-calls-on-bahrain-to-release-detained-rights-activist-abduljalil-al-singace_1227555.html

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North America

 

US seeking Taliban’s cooperation in anti-ISIS fight

09 Feb 2022

Joe Biden’s nominee for CENTCOM Lt General Erik Kurrila said there are pragmatic instances where the US and the Taliban can come together and fight the ISIS-K and take out the terrorists’ targets in Afghanistan.

During his nomination hearing before the Senate on Tuesday, February 8, 2022, Erik Kurrila said that despite the drawdown of American forces from Afghanistan, they will still be able to conduct over-the-horizon operations and hit Al-Qaida and ISIS targets in the country.

“over-the-horizon” counter-terrorism operations — strikes launched from another country or an aircraft carrier — in Afghanistan against ISIS and Al Qaeda targets are “difficult, but not impossible” after the US drawdown.” Said the CENTCOM nominee.

General Erik Kurrila said that the US has conducted no airstrike since their full withdrawal on August 30 last year.

Though the Biden administration has repeatedly said that they will retain abilities in the region to strike Al-Qaida and ISIS-K targets in Afghanistan, the nominee said that they need at least one sensor on the target to have it eliminated.

General Kurrila is also dubious about flying through Pakistan as it will pose challenges but acknowledged that Islamabad has several incentives to cooperate in this regard.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/us-seeking-talibans-cooperation-in-anti-isis-fight-656587/

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Disagreements resurface between US, Israel over 2015 Iran deal revival

07 February 2022

Fundamental disagreements have resurfaced between the United States and its key ally – the Israeli regime – over diplomatic efforts to revive the Iran deal, with the latter overtly attacking Washington’s Iran policy as "mistaken" and "detrimental to its security".

Israel’s National Security adviser Eyal Hulata told the Israeli cabinet that Tel Aviv was preparing for a scenario where the talks between Iran and the five remaining parties to the 2015 deal in the Austrian capital, Vienna, can yield a new deal that doesn’t serve its interest, Axios cited four ministers, who attended the meeting, as saying.

He also said that the Israeli regime was preparing for a scenario where no deal is reached and Iran’s nuclear program “continues with no restraints.”

At the top of the meeting, Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett also said a deal with Iran, according to terms that are being negotiated in Vienna, will undermine Israel’s ability to “deal with” Tehran’s nuclear program, Axios reported.

“Whoever thinks that an agreement will increase stability — is mistaken,” Bennett claimed, in clear defiance of the Biden administration’s professed goal of trying to rejoin the nuclear deal.

Later in the day, Bennett and Biden held a phone call, during which they discussed the Vienna talks.

The phone call apparently failed to persuade Washington to side with Tel Aviv on this issue, as US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley said on Sunday night that “President (Joe) Biden still wants us to negotiate in Vienna.”

US: JCPOA revival in our interest

Malley added that he would soon head to Vienna for the next round of talks, stressing that the revival of the deal is “in our interest”.

“We’ll come back next week. That’s a symbol or a sign of our continued belief that it is not a dead corpse – that we need to revive it because it is in our interest," Malley told MSNBC in an interview.

The nuclear deal is formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Negotiations were launched in April 2021 under the Biden administration to have the US return to the JCPOA and lift US sanctions in exchange for Iran returning to its nuclear obligations.

Former US president Donald Trump launched the maximum pressure policy against Iran in 2018 after he pulled the US out of the JCPOA – a decision cheered by the Israeli regime’s former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had openly clashed with Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, when the deal was inked.

While Bennett initially soft-pedaled a US return to the JCPOA and took a far less provocative posture toward the deal than did Netanyahu, he has begun in recent weeks to sound more and more like the former Israeli premier over Washington’s policy toward Iran.

Bennett has openly announced that a revived JCPOA will not be acceptable to Israel.

“We must be honest in saying we have disagreements with the United States, our great friend. The way we see it, Iran is playing with a very weak hand and is bluffing. This lie must be exposed, and they must be given a choice—survival of the regime or a continued race to nuclear capabilities, and they must not be given a gift of tens of billions … Either way, even if an agreement is signed, it will not bind us,” he said recently.

A report in the New York Times also said: “Israeli leaders say they want a guarantee from the Biden administration that Washington will not seek to restrain their sabotage campaign, even if a renewed nuclear deal is reached.”

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/02/07/676341/Disagreements-resurface-US-Israel-Iran-deal-revival

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US, UAE to develop tech to stop drone attacks before launch as defence ties bolster

08 February ,2022

The US will work with the UAE and its partners in the region to develop solutions to stop drone attacks even before they are launched, General Kenneth F. McKenzie, Commander of US Central Command, said in an interview with the Emirates state media WAM.

McKenzie was on an official visit to the UAE, where he met Lt. Gen. Hamad Mohammed Thani al-Rumaithi, Chief of Staff of the UAE Armed Forces, and addressed “several issues of common concern,” on Tuesday, according to WAM.

“Even as the UAE has come under attack, the United States has moved quickly and swiftly to help an old friend,” McKenzie said in the interview.

“We are happy to see that THAAD [Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system] employed successfully by UAE in the first two combat employments of that system,” said the US official, referring to the latest two attacks that were attempted against the Emirates.

THAAD is a US-built anti-ballistic missile defense system designed to intercept projectiles in their terminal phase.

The UAE successfully downed three drones on a January 31 attack and another on February 2, both of which did not impact civilian life in the country.

However, the January 17 attack on an ADNOC facility killed three expats, a reported first in the UAE.

“Although the attacks on the UAE are very concerning to the US,” he said to WAM, “I think the UAE has one of the most professional militaries in the region. They’re very well-led, and I think the UAE is a very safe and secure place.”

On February 2, after the Iran-backed Houthis attempted missile attacks in the UAE, the US promised to deploy a guided missile destroyer and state-of-the-art fighter jets.

“Over the next week or so, we’re going to bring in a squadron of F-22 fighter jets,” confirmed McKenzie, adding that “we brought a guided-missile destroyer, the USS Cole, which has ballistic missile defense capabilities,” and is expected to actively patrol the UAE’s waters.

The Iran-backed militia frequently target civilian areas and energy facilities in Saudi Arabia with explosive-laden drones and ballistic missiles.

These attacks have invited global condemnation and high-level talks are underway to find a solution to the recurring issue.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/02/08/US-UAE-to-develop-tech-to-stop-drone-attacks-before-launch-as-defense-ties-bolster

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Congressional Republicans call for review, vote on any deal with Iran

08 February 2022

Thirty-three US senators from the Republican Party have called on the administration of President Joe Biden to relay the terms of any new deal with Iran to Congress for approval.

The group, led by Texas Senator Ted Cruz, warned the Biden administration on Monday that they would work to thwart the implementation of a new agreement with Iran if its terms were not approved by them.

Cruz, who is an outspoken critic of the 2015 nuclear deal, said the Republican senators would use “the full range of options and leverage available” to ensure any new accord with Iran adhered to US laws and policy.

A new round of talks in Vienna between Iran and the P4+1 group of countries on reviving the agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) were launched in April last year, shortly after Biden assumed office as US president, with the aim of bringing the Americans back into the deal, which former president Donald Trump exited in 2018.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said a deal can be reached if the US and other JCPOA signatories provide guarantees that they will honor the deal.

“In recent weeks, Iran has done what it had to do, and much depends on the decisions of the other side,” Khatibzadeh noted.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/02/08/676428/US-Iran-nuclear-deal-Republican-Senators-Cruz-

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Africa

 

Tunisia must restore judicial watchdog: UN, Western envoys

08 February ,2022

Western envoys to Tunisia and the UN rights chief urged President Kais Saied on Tuesday to restore a key judicial watchdog, warning that scrapping it threatens the rule of law.

Saied dissolved the Supreme Judicial Council (CSM) on Sunday, months after sacking the government and seizing wide-reaching powers in the North African country, often lauded as the only democracy to emerge from the 2011 Arab revolts.

“This has been a big step in the wrong direction,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in a statement, adding that the move “is in clear violation of Tunisia’s obligations under international human rights law.”

In Tunis, the envoys of the G7 nations and the European Union said they were “deeply concerned about the announcement of the intention to unilaterally dissolve (the CSM), whose mission is to ensure the sound functioning of the justice system and respect for its independence.”

“A transparent, independent and efficient judiciary and the separation of powers are essential for a functioning democracy that serves its people,” they said in a joint statement.

The council had been mandated to ensure the functioning of justice and the independence of the judiciary, as well as appointing judges.

The UN rights office pointed out that its establishment in 2016 had been seen as a major advance for the rule of law, separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary in Tunisia.

On Monday, Tunisian police blocked access to the council, preventing members and staff from entering the premises, a move its chief Youssef Bouzakher said was “illegal.”

Saied, whose supporters say his July 25 power grab was necessary after a decade of misgovernance, vowed Monday he would “never interfere with the judiciary,” and said scrapping the body had been necessary.

He had repeatedly accused judges on the body of corruption.

Critics say the former law professor has pushed the country down a dangerous slope towards autocracy.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2022/02/08/Tunisian-judges-association-calls-to-halt-work-of-courts-and-protest

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Libyan army hails Turkiye's role in training its personnel

Mohammad Erteima

08.02.2022

TRIPOLI, Libya

The Libyan army on Tuesday commended the role of Turkiye in training the Libyan army personnel.

"We extol the good level of training after implementing the training plan drafted jointly with the Turkish support mission in Libya," Nouri al-Shenouk, director of training in the Libyan army, said during a graduation ceremony attended by Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh and the head of the Turkish military mission in Libya, Osman Aytac.

"The Turkish delegation played the biggest role in the training process," al-Shenouk added.

For his part, Aytac said Ankara is keen on establishing peace and stability in Libya, adding that his mission seeks to raise the Libyan army's efficiency to international standards.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/libyan-army-hails-turkiyes-role-in-training-its-personnel/2497326

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Prosecution seeks 30 years in prison for Burkina Faso former President Compaore in Sankara’s murder

James Tasamba  

08.02.2022

KIGALI, Rwanda

Prosecutors on Tuesday asked a military tribunal to sentence former Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore to 30 years in prison for his involvement in the murder of the former revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara.

Compaore and 13 others were charged with complicity, undermining state security and concealing corpses, according to a charge sheet.

During the hearing at the military court in Burkina Faso’s capital of Ouagadougou, prosecutors said they presented sufficient evidence and asked the court to convict Campaore.

They also asked for 30 years for Hyacinthe Kafando, who was Campaore’s security chief, both of whom were tried in absentia.

The arrest warrant issued against the two defendants must be maintained, prosecutors told the court.

They also sought a 20-year jail term for Gen. Gilbert Diendere, a former head of the elite Presidential Security Regiment (RSP) under Campaore.

Sankara assumed power in 1983. But he was killed Oct. 15, 1987, during a coup led by Compaore, a former ally.

Campaore, 70, who was deposed in 2014 through a popular uprising after 27 years in power, lives in exile in Ivory Coast.

He has always denied allegations that he ordered Sankara’s killing.

The trial of 14 people accused of plotting Sankara’s assassination began in October, 34 years after his murder.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/prosecution-seeks-30-years-in-prison-for-burkina-faso-former-president-compaore-in-sankara-s-murder/2497157

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Tunisia's president says decree to dissolve judicial body ready

Alaa Hammoudi 

08.02.2022

TUNIS, Tunisia

Tunisian President Kais Saied said Monday that a draft decree to dissolve the Supreme Judicial Council is ready, stressing the necessity to take such a move.

Saied said while receiving his Prime Minister Najla Bouden that resorting to the council's dissolution became necessary and that he will review the dissolution proposal to make some amendments if needed.

He also said the move to dissolve the council is to eliminate corruption within the judiciary and to punish criminals whom he said are protected by the judiciary.

The council is an independent constitutional body whose tasks include ensuring the independence of the judiciary, holding judges accountable, and granting them professional promotions.

On Sunday, the council issued a statement announcing its rejection of Saied’s decision, saying the move was illegal and unconstitutional.

Various judicial bodies and political parties also rejected the decision.

Tension has marred Saied’s relations with the council, with the Tunisian leader criticizing the judiciary over delays in issuing rulings in cases of corruption and terrorism.

Last July, Saied dismissed the government, suspended parliament and assumed executive authority amid mounting public anger over economic stagnation and political paralysis.

While Saied insists that his "exceptional measures" were meant to "save" the country, critics have accused him of orchestrating a coup.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/tunisias-president-says-decree-to-dissolve-judicial-body-ready/2496547

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Tunisia’s foreign minister endorses dissolution of judicial council

Mehmet Akif Turan

09.02.2022

TUNIS, Tunisia

Tunisia’s foreign minister on Tuesday endorsed the dissolution of the country’s Supreme Judicial Council by the president.

The decision to dissolve the judicial council is part of the continuity of the rectification of the democratic process launched by President Kais Saied on July 25, 2021, said Othman Jerandi in a meeting with ambassadors of G-7 countries in Tunisia and the representative of the UN Human Rights Commission.

The decision was made to facilitate the planned judicial reform which eventually aims to create a politics-free, independent judicial structure in the country, he added.

On Sunday, Saied announced plans to dissolve the council, an independent constitutional body whose tasks include ensuring the independence of the judiciary, holding judges accountable, and granting them professional promotions.

The council “has become a thing of the past,” Saied said, accusing it of becoming a place “where positions and appointments are sold according to loyalties.”

Tunisian security forces closed the council’s headquarters Monday and prevented employees from entering it.

Last July, Saied dismissed the government, suspended parliament and assumed executive authority amid mounting public anger over economic stagnation and political paralysis.

While Saied insists that his "exceptional measures" were meant to "save" the country, critics have accused him of orchestrating a coup.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/tunisia-s-foreign-minister-endorses-dissolution-of-judicial-council/2497502

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Foreign envoys voice concern over plans to dissolve Tunisia’s judicial council

Yosra Ounnas 

08.02.2022

TUNIS, Tunisia

Foreign ambassadors to Tunisia on Tuesday voiced concern over plans by Tunisian President Kais Saied to dissolve the country's Supreme Judicial Council.

"A transparent, independent and efficient judiciary and the separation of powers are essential for a functioning democracy," said a joint statement issued by the diplomatic missions of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain, the US and the European Union.

On Monday, Saied said he has prepared a decree to dissolve the council, which he described as a place “where positions and appointments are sold according to loyalties.”

The council is an independent constitutional body whose tasks include ensuring the independence of the judiciary, holding judges accountable, and granting them professional promotions.

On Sunday, the judicial council condemned Saied’s plans to dissolve it as “unconstitutional”.

Tension has marred Saied’s relations with the council, with the Tunisian leader criticizing the judiciary over delays in issuing rulings in cases of corruption and terrorism.

Last July, Saied dismissed the government, suspended parliament and assumed executive authority amid mounting public anger over economic stagnation and political paralysis.

While Saied insists that his "exceptional measures" were meant to "save" the country, critics have accused him of orchestrating a coup.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/foreign-envoys-voice-concern-over-plans-to-dissolve-tunisia-s-judicial-council/2497024

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Mideast

 

President Rayeesi: Independent States Can Overcome Sanctions via Expanding Cooperation

2022-February-8

The Iranian president made the remarks in a meeting with new Cuban Ambassador to Tehran Alberto González Casals on Tuesday.

President Rayeesi said that anti-imperialism and anti-oppression stance of Iran and Cuba has helped to get closer to each other.

"The two nations should expand their bilateral relations in cultural, trade and economic fields," he added.

The Iranian president said that the Islamic Republic of Iran has strategic relations with all countries which are in front line against the arrogant powers.

After submitting a copy of his credentials to President Rayeesi, the Cuban ambassador described Havana-Tehran ties as strong and brotherly, and called for developing the current level of economic cooperation.

In a relevant development in January, Iranian Vice-President for Economic Affairs Mohsen Rezayee in a meeting with Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel underlined the need for strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries to confront the US embargos.

The meeting was held on the sidelines of the inauguration ceremony of Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega in Managua.

Rezayee attended the ceremony on behalf of the President of Iran and met and held talks with high-ranking officials from different Latin American countries.

During the meeting, the Cuban President sent his special greetings to the Iranian Leader and President, said the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14001119000813/Presiden-Rayeesi-Independen-Saes-Can-Overcme-Sancins-via-Expanding

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Iran's UN Ambassador Stresses Punishment of Sanctioning States

2022-February-8

Unilateral sanctions target ordinary people and cause them unnecessary suffering, Takht Ravanchi said.

Referring to the sanctions imposed on Iran, he said that as the Iranian president pointed out at the UN General Assembly, sanctions are a clear violation of international law, including human rights and international humanitarian law, and should be banned.

These criminal acts are tantamount to committing crimes against humanity, Takht Ravanchi said, adding that sanctioning countries should not go unpunished for committing such heinous crimes.

In relevant remarks in October, Takht Ravanchi blasted the unilateral sanctions imposed by the US on developing countries, and said that such embargoes have violated the indisputable and basic principles of human rights of these nations.

He made the remarks in an address to the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly, which deals with global finance and economic matters.

"Such illegal restrictive measures amount to crime against humanity and contradict the goals of development," the Iranian ambassador said.

He described the COVID19 pandemic as a "wakeup call for the whole world" that reminded humanity that the development, welfare and prosperity of all people are interdependent.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14001119000578/Iran's-UN-Ambassadr-Sresses-Pnishmen-f-Sancining-Saes

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Israel hits missile targets in Syria: Military

09 February ,2022

Israel launched strikes against targets in Syria early Wednesday, hitting anti-aircraft batteries in response to a missile fired from Syria, the military said.

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

Sirens were sounded in the northern Israeli Arab city of Umm al-Fahm after the Syrian missile launch but it exploded in mid-air, the Israel Defense Forces tweeted.

“In response to the anti-aircraft missile launched from Syria earlier tonight, we just struck surface-to-air missile targets in Syria, including radar & anti-aircraft batteries,” the IDF said.

Syrian state media said the country’s air defenses had been activated against Israeli fire “in the vicinity of Damascus.”

Citing a military source, it said Israeli aerial attacks began shortly before 1 a.m. and were accompanied at 1:10 a.m. by surface-to-surface missile strikes “from the direction of the occupied Golan.”

“Our aerial defenses confronted the enemy’s missiles and shot some of them down,” the Syrian news agency SANA said.

SANA stated that one soldier was killed and five others wounded, “along with material damage”.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/02/09/Israel-hits-missile-targets-in-Syria-Military

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Israeli forces kill three Palestinian militants in the West Bank

08 February ,2022

Israeli forces killed three Palestinian gunmen travelling in a car in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, Israel's domestic security service said.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry described the incident as “an ugly field execution.”

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

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Israeli forces had shown that “terrorists have no immunity.”

Israel’s Shin Bet security service said the men were armed, and described them as a squad responsible for shooting attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians in the area in recent weeks.

No casualties were reported in those attacks, which stoked tensions in the West Bank and raised Israeli security concerns.

Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades said the three men were members of their group, which is linked to President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah group.

A video seen by Reuters showed paramedics carrying the bloodied men on stretchers into an ambulance near a car riddled with bullets, as people gathered around them.

“Israel is responsible for this criminal assassination. It is part of their ongoing crimes,” said Monir Al-Jaghoub, a Fatah spokesperson in the West Bank.

Israel’s Bennett said in a statement: “Whoever harms us, will be hit.”

A Palestinian source had earlier on Tuesday said the men belonged to the Islamic Jihad group, but a source in the movement later denied that.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/02/08/Israel-says-it-killed-3-suspected-militants-in-West-Bank

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Diplomatic flurry suggests new momentum as Iran nuclear talks resume

8 February ,2022

A flurry of diplomacy preceding the resumption of Iran nuclear talks in the Austrian capital on Tuesday suggests sides are trying to close in on a long-sought agreement.

Iran and China coordinated strategies going into Tuesday’s renewed negotiations in Vienna on reviving world powers’ nuclear deal with Tehran. Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, indicated his country’s position was closely tracking France’s.

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

Confidence-building gestures by the US and Iran have generated new optimism that the sides are inching toward an agreement that could see Iran exporting oil again before the end of the year, in exchange for constraints on its nuclear program. But disputes remain over the timing of sanctions relief and which centrifuges Iran will be allowed to operate.

Oil has dropped this week, snapping seven straight weekly gains, partly because of the progress in the Iranian talks.

Iran “stressed the need for realism from the western parties to the talks, according to a Foreign Ministry statement issued after the call late Monday between Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.

China called the Gulf nation a “strategic partner while suggesting Iran’s principled demands “will receive full attention at the talks, state-run Xinhua reported Wang as saying.

The negotiations to restore the 2015 nuclear pact, which unraveled after the Trump administration jettisoned it four years ago, have played up the rising importance of Tehran’s links to Beijing. Analysts have suggested that energy traders weighing the probability of a revived accord pay attention to growing economic relations between the countries.

But while Tehran’s strengthening links to Beijing and Moscow have long been recognized, alignment between France and Russian President Vladimir Putin potentially signals new momentum in negotiations that have dragged on for 10 months.

“We agreed that our positions on this matter are very close, or, as diplomats say, coincide, Putin said after meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Moscow on Monday.

Russia’s envoy to the talks, Mikhail Ulyanov, told the Moscow newspaper Kommersant that negotiators have reached the finish line, even as counterparts in the US have suggested significant gaps remain. If an agreement is reached, a preparation period for its implementation will begin, which may take a month or two, Ulyanov was cited as saying.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/02/08/Diplomatic-flurry-suggests-new-momentum-as-Iran-nuclear-talks-resume

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Israeli forces kill 3 Palestinians in West Bank city of Nablus

Qais Abu Samra  

08.02.2022

RAMALLAH

An Israeli force member killed on Tuesday three civilians in the city of Nablus, northern West Bank, the Palestinian Health Ministry announced.

The ministry said in a press statement that "the three citizens were martyred as a result of the Israeli occupation's direct shooting at them in the city of Nablus."

Eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency that an Israeli special force member, hidden in a civilian vehicle, stormed the Nablus' Al-Makhfieh neighborhood, and opened fire at a Palestinian car.

Activists circulated a video showing an Israeli special force running after firing at the car.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/israeli-forces-kill-3-palestinians-in-west-bank-city-of-nablus/2497004

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OIC condemns Israel’s killing of 3 Palestinians in Nablus

February 09, 2022

DUBAI: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has condemned the Israeli occupation forces’ killing of three Palestinian youths in Nablus on Tuesday.

According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the OIC said the crime comes in the context of the policy of field executions and premeditated killings of the Palestinian people.

The OIC clarified that the recent act of violence is a violation of the international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

It has also called on the international community, especially the UN Security Council, to assume its legal and political responsibilities.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2021146/middle-east

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Southeast Asia

 

Malaysia Must Clarify Whether Envoy’s ‘Promise’ to Taliban Had Govt OK

2022-02-08

A controversy over Malaysia’s envoy to the Middle East purportedly promising aid to the Taliban government in Afghanistan refuses to die down.

Abdul Hadi Awang, the envoy who also leads the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), said Tuesday through his representative that his meeting with a senior Taliban official in Doha last week was just a “dialogue.” He indicated that any discussion about aid was akin to Malaysia’s donation to the U.N. for humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan.

But political analysts and opposition leaders say the government needs to break its silence and state whether the cabinet approved such a promise to the strife-torn nation, given that Muslim-majority Malaysia has not recognized the Taliban government. The Taliban took power in Kabul last August after toppling a Western-backed administration.

“If the meeting happened without the official endorsement of the [Malaysian] government, then Hadi, as an appointed envoy, has exceeded his powers as an envoy,” Mazlan Ali, a senior lecturer with Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, told BenarNews.

“This is especially the case when the Taliban-led Afghan government is yet to be officially recognized by Putrajaya. A clear explanation [about what actually transpired] should be given by the government and the Foreign Ministry.”

Abdul Hadi met with the Taliban’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Mohammed Suhail Shaheen, on Feb. 3. On the same day, the latter posted a message on Twitter about Abdul Hadi’s discussion with him.

“He promised [that] Malaysia will do what it can to assist the Afghan people in this critical time,” Shaheen said.

The Taliban ambassador to the U.N. was referring to an acute humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. According to a recent statement from the World Food Program, a United Nations agency, 23 million Afghans are going hungry and 8.7 million are at the risk of starvation.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian government has not issued any statement about Abdul Hadi’s meeting last week.

On Tuesday, BenarNews contacted officials at the Foreign Ministry but did not hear back from them immediately. However last month, Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said that Malaysia was not rushing to recognize Afghanistan under the Taliban leadership.

“We would prefer the recognition through certain international platforms, say the [Organization of Islamic Cooperation]. That is our stand for now,” Saifuddin told reporters then.

Another analyst, James Chin, with the University of Tasmania, noted that Abdul Hadi’s PAS party had consistently voiced supported for the Taliban since the political movement was formed.

Last August, Abdul Hadi’s son, Muhammad Khalil, who is chairman of PAS’s international affairs and external relations committee, tweeted his congratulations to the Taliban when the United States and other members of an international coalition withdrew the last of their troops from Afghanistan.

“It’s obvious the cabinet hasn’t made a decision about the Taliban [administration] so [Abdul] Hadi Awang is jumping the gun by offering aid and an indirect form of recognition by meeting the Taliban,” Chin told BenarNews.

“He’s in a position to offer aid in his personal capacity, or [from] PAS, as a party. But if you read the reports carefully, it seems like he offered aid on behalf of the Malaysian government. That, I think, is quite unusual.”

Meanwhile, Abdul Hadi’s political secretary, Syahir Sulaiman, defended the meeting with the Taliban’s Shaheen and claimed that that it was arranged by Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs upon Malaysia’s request.

“The session with [the] Afghan/Taliban rep[resentative] in Doha was a ‘dialogue’ session, arranged by [Ministry of Foreign Affairs] Qatar upon our request,” Syahir said in statement on Tuesday, although BenarNews could not confirm this claim.

“[The] whole world is engaging Afghan/Taliban through multiple channels of ‘dialogue,’ including the OIC [Organization of Islamic Cooperation], the U.N., the US, and China,” he added.

Source: Benar News

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

https://www.benarnews.org/english/news/malaysian/malaysia-middle-east-envoy-courts-controversy-over-meet-with-taliban-02082022132556.html

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Indonesian croc freed after five years trapped in tyre

February 09, 2022

PALU, Indonesia: A wild crocodile in Indonesia who was trapped in a tire for more than five years has been rescued, freed from its rubber vice and released back into the wild, officials and residents said Tuesday.

Sulawesi Island spotted the animal with a motorbike tire wrapped around its neck.

But it was a local resident who snared the 5.2-meter (17 foot) long reptile — who was regularly seen sunbathing in the Palu river in Central Sulawesi — from its tight squeeze late on Monday.

Tili, a 34-year-old bird-seller, used chicken as bait and ropes to catch the beast at the end of what he said was a three-week rescue effort, before dozens of locals helped to drag the crocodile to shore and cut the tire around its neck.

“I just wanted to help, I hate seeing animals trapped and suffering,” Tili, who like many Indonesians uses only one name, told AFP.

His first two attempts to rescue the croc failed because the ropes were not strong enough to contend with its weight, he said, before turning to nylon ropes used for tugging boats.

“I was already exhausted so I let them finish the rescue, the crocodile was unbelievably heavy, everybody was sweating and getting very tired.”

The crocodile was released back into the water immediately after the rescue to relieved cheers from locals.

Conservationists believe someone may have deliberately placed the tire around the croc’s neck in a failed attempt to trap it as a pet in the archipelago nation that is home to several species of the animal.

Tili beat the authorities to the capture because they lacked the proper equipment for a rescue in the river that houses more than 30 other crocodiles.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2021076/offbeat

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