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Islamic World News ( 13 Apr 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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If BJP Leaders' Daughters Marry Muslims They Call It Love, When Others Do So It's Called 'Jihad': Chhattisgarh CM

New Age Islam News Bureau

13 April 2023

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel addressing a rally. (File photo)


• After 'Sneha Yatra' To Christian Homes On Easter, Kerala BJP Workers Meet Muslims On Eid

• Imran Khan, Bushra Bibi's Wedding, During Iddat Period, Held In Defiance Of Islamic Sharia Law, Says Cleric

• Al-Quds Church Urges Mass Participation In Easter Despite Israeli Curbs

• ‘Saudi Arabia Wanted To Help Us, Biden Insulted Them,’ Donald Trump Tells Fox News



• Agra cow slaughter case: Four Hindu Mahasabha members arrested for falsely implicating Muslims

• Quotas For Dalit Muslims, Christians: SC Wonders If It Can Rely On Rangnath Misra Panel Report The Govt Has Not Accepted

• Chandrakant Patil should’ve avoided questioning Bal Thackeray’s role in Babri mosque demolition: Mumbai BJP chief

• Delhi: Madrasa of 250-yr-old mosque bulldozed, officials claim encroachment

• Need to examine if caste can be imputed to religions that don’t recognize it: SC



• Art, literature can’t be termed ‘obscene’ sans holistic review: SC

• Islam becomes 'fastest growing religion' in the world

• Ruling coalition rejects ‘controversial’ SC bench set to hear pleas against law to clip CJP’s powers

• Karachi factory blaze leaves four dead, 13 injured as building collapses

• Parliamentary body to examine changes proposed to poll law

• SHC rejects petition against media ban on Altaf



• Iranian Delegation Arrives In Riyadh To Prepare For Reopening Of Embassy: Tehran

• Iran executions surge 75 percent in 2022: Human rights group

• Spokesman: Iran Seeking to Reopen Missions in Saudi Arabia Before Hajj

• Iranian President: Israelis in Rush to Evacuate Palestinian Lands

• Iran Showcases Indigenously-Manufactured Jammer Drone for First Time

• AEOI Spokesman: High Quality of Iran's Heavy Water Acknowledged by US

• Gaza shoppers defy blockade with Ramadan economy revival


North America

• Eastern Syria Helicopter Raid Captures Top ISIS/Daesh Operative: US

• ‘Just like everyone else': Muslim Americans strive to make Eid Al Fitr a school holiday

• Canadian Muslims on edge after attacks on mosques during Ramadan

• US national security advisor speaks with Saudi crown prince

• Muslim group CAIR received 5,156 complaints in 2022, a 23% drop: Report


South Asia

• Muttaqi Urges International Community to Recognize Positive Uplift in Afghanistan

• Afghan Authorities Respond to UN’s Decision to Suspend Activities in Afghanistan

• Delhi school for Afghan kids is Taliban casualty, Govt steps in to shift students

• Taliban aim to boost anti-aircraft capacity to counter 'Pakistan threat'

• Traffic Accident Kills 3, Injures 6 in Afghanistan’s Bamyan Province

• Uzbekistan to Host Meeting of Special Envoys of Afghanistan’s Neighbours on Thursday

• Bangladeshi opposition dismisses PM’s ‘laughable’ claims of US meddling in nation’s democracy


Southeast Asia

• PAAB Lights Up Ramadan AndSyawalFor Two Orphanages

• Islam Wasathiyah Vital For National Unity: Minister


Arab World

• Syria’s Foreign Minister Makes First Visit ToSaudi Arabia In Over 10 Years

• Qatar and Bahrain to resume diplomatic ties

• UAE’s Rashid Rover, First Arab Region’s Moon Mission, Sets Landing Date Target

• France’s Macron confers highest national order on Sharjah ruler Sheikh Sultan

• Eid Al Fitr expected to coincide with Friday, says Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs

• Saudi Arabia, Syria prepare to start resuming consular services and flights



• Muslim Will Emerge If Igbos Don’t Produce Next Senate President – Primate Ayodele

• Suspected extremist kills self in Moroccan prison

• Syria will reopen embassy in Tunisia after decade of ruptured ties



• UN Palestinian Refugee Agency Urges West Bank Workers To End Strike

• Man extradited to Britain from Pakistan, charged over police murder

• Ex-RAF chief urges UK govt to give Afghan pilot sanctuary

• Greece expects to discuss vital issues with Türkiye after elections in May

• Bulgaria reiterates support for Bosnia’s EU bid

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



If BJP Leaders' Daughters Marry Muslims They Call It Love, When Others Do So It's Called 'Jihad': Chhattisgarh CM

Apr 13, 2023

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel addressing a rally. (File photo)


Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Wednesday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of indulging in double standards, saying that when the daughters of BJP leaders get married to Muslims, they call it love, but if anybody else does so then it's dubbed as "jihad".

Talking to reporters in Bilaspur town of the state, he also accused the saffron party of trying to take political advantage of last week's communal violence in Biranpur village of Bemetara district.

When asked about the BJP's claims that tension started brewing in Biranpur following some interfaith marriages there, Baghel said, "The BJP neither examined the matter (clash) nor came out with any report before calling for a bandh. A fight between two children led to a clash that claimed the life of a man which is very sad. It cannot be justified. But the BJP is trying to take its political mileage."

"They talk about love jihad. If we talk about senior leaders of BJP, their daughters have married to Muslims. Doesn't it fall in the category of love jihad? You ask where the daughter of the biggest leader of the BJP in Chhattsigarh has gone. Is that not love jihad? When their daughter does it then it's love but someone else does it, then it is jihad.

"What have they (BJP) done to stop this? They just want to get political benefits from it. They make their son-in-laws minister and MPs and treat others under different laws," he said.

Communal violence had erupted in Biranpur, located 60 km from Bemetara town, on April 8 allegedly after a fight between school children.

A local resident, Bhuneshwar Sahu (22), was killed in the clash and three policemen suffered injuries.

The local administration has imposed section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which bars assembly of four or more people, in the entire Bemetara district.

Three days after the incident, a man identified as Rahim Mohammad (55) and his son Idul Mohammad (35), residents of Biranpur, were found dead with head injuries a few kms away from the village.

All roads leading to the village have been barricaded by the police. Around 1,000 police personnel have been deployed in the village and around it to maintain law and order.

CM Baghel on Tuesday announced to give government job to the kin of the deceased Sahu and also financial assistance of Rs 10 lakh to the family.


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After 'Sneha Yatra' To Christian Homes On Easter, Kerala BJP Workers Meet Muslims On Eid

13 APR 2023

After 'Sneha Yatra' To Christian Homes On Easter, Kerala BJP Workers Meet Muslims On Eid File Photo


BJP workers in Kerala will visit the residences of Muslim community members in the state to exchange greetings on the occasion of Eid next week, a party source said.

The party had last Sunday conducted 'Sneha Yatra', reaching out to Christians on the occasion of Easter.

The decision to reach out to Muslims on the occasion of Eid was taken at the BJP's state core committee meeting held in Kochi on Wednesday, the source said here.

At the meeting, the BJP's Kerala in-charge Prakash Javadekar congratulated the party's state unit for reaching out to Christians to greet them on Easter.

He informed the meeting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly believes Indians are beyond caste, religion, and regional thinking, and directed them to work hard to realise the PM's idea of uniting everyone, the source told PTI.

At the meeting, Javadekar directed the BJP workers to celebrate 'Vishu' with everyone on Saturday and also visit Muslim houses to exchange greetings on Eid next week, the source added.

The source also said that the Prime Minister's visit to a Church in New Delhi on the occasion of Easter has helped "demolish the propaganda" by the Congress and the Left parties that the BJP was against the minorities.


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Imran Khan, Bushra Bibi's Wedding, During Iddat Period, Held In Defiance Of Islamic Sharia Law, Says Cleric

Apr 13, 2023

Imran Khan had married Bushra Bibi in 2018, shortly after her divorce from her first husband the previous year. (Photo from @InsafPK on Twitter)


The cleric who solemnised former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's wedding with Bushra Bibi said the ceremony was not conducted in accordance with Islamic Sharia law, reported The Express Tribune on Wednesday. The cleric said the couple's wedding in 2018 occurred during Bushra Bibi's Iddat period.

The Iddat period (three months) is a waiting period that a Muslim woman must observe on account of the death of her husband or the dissolution of the marriage.

Before her marriage to Imran Khan, Bushra was married to KhawarManeka and had divorced him in 2017.

Mufti Saeed, the cleric, said he officiated the Nikah between Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi on January 1, 2018, after a woman claiming to be Bushra's sister assured him that all the Sharia requirements for her marriage had been fulfilled. Saeed added that the couple began living together in Islamabad after their wedding.

However, he claims that Imran Khan contacted him in February 2018 and requested him to conduct the Nikah again. According to Saeed, Imran Khan told him that, at the time of the initial ceremony, Bushra's Iddat period had not been completed as she was divorced in November 2017.

The cleric said the former Pakistan PM and his wife planned their wedding despite being aware of the situation. He also alleged that Imran Khan had confided in him that he believed marrying Bushra would lead to him becoming the prime minister.

Mufti Saeed revealed the details about the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief and Bushra Bibi's wedding in court. A petition was filed by one Muhammad Hanif against the alleged 'un-Islamic' Nikkah of Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi.

Saeed said Muhammad Hanif approached him on the fourth day of Ramzan and inquired about the marriage of Imran and Bushra and he told them what he had revealed in court. The court has adjourned further hearings on the case until April 19.

The cleric serves as the principal of a seminary and said he has a positive relationship with Imran Khan and is also a part of his core committee. He claimed that the former PM took him to Lahore's Defence Housing Authority (DHA) to officiate the couple's Nikah in 2018.


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Al-Quds church urges mass participation in Easter despite Israeli curbs

12 April 2023

Orthodox worshippers hold candles during the Holy Fire ceremony at the Ethiopian section of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in al-Quds’ Old City, April 23, 2022. (File photo by Reuters)


A priest from the Greek Orthodox Church in the occupied East al-Quds has called on Christians to attend Easter celebrations in large numbers while denouncing the "heavy-handed" curbs imposed by the Israeli regime officials.

Father MattheosSiopis in a statement on Wednesday announced that talks with the Israeli police over the attendance numbers at the Holy Fire ceremony on Saturday in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre had failed.

“After many attempts made in goodwill, we are not able to coordinate with the Israeli authorities as they are enforcing unreasonable restrictions,” he said, as reported by AFP news agency.

He slammed the “heavy-handed” restrictions that will limit access to the church, noting that the ceremony has been “faithfully taking place in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for nearly 2,000 years.”

The annual Holy Fire ceremony is the most important event in the Orthodox calendar. Some 10,000 worshippers used to fill the church and surrounding alleys but Israeli authorities have limited the number of attendants to 1,800 people since last year. They claim the restriction is a safety precaution. 

Scuffles broke out last year between worshippers and police officers who imposed restrictions throughout the occupied city’s Christian quarter. 

Urging “all who wish to worship with us to attend,” Siopis noted, “With that made clear, we leave the authorities to act as they will. The churches will freely worship and do so in peace.”

The remarks come as tensions have been soaring in the al-Quds in recent weeks due to repeated assaults of Israeli forces on al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site for Muslims.

But Muslims are not the only group targeted in the occupied territories as there have been increased assaults by extremist settlers and Israeli forces against Christian priests and worshippers in recent years.

Since 2005, Christian celebrations around Holy Week, particularly Holy Fire Saturday, have brought military barricades and harsh treatment from soldiers and settlers alike.

Since the most right-wing Israeli cabinet came to power last year, incidents against Christians in al-Quds have reportedly become more violent and common. At the beginning of the year, 30 Christian graves at the Protestant Mount Zion Cemetery were desecrated.

In the Armenian Quarter, vandals spray-painted “Death to Arabs, Christians and Armenians,” on the walls.

At the Church of the Flagellation, someone attacked a statue of Jesus with a hammer. Last month, an Israeli came to the Church of Gethsemane during Sunday religious services and tried to attack the priest with an iron bar. Being spat and shouted at by Israelis has become, for some Christians, “a daily occurrence.”

Victims of these incidents say the Israeli police do little to arrest and punish the attackers most of the time. Community leaders believe the police dismiss or minimize the religious motivations behind these attacks, typically claiming the perpetrators suffer from mental illness.

Source: Press TV

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‘Saudi Arabia wanted to help us, Biden insulted them,’ Donald Trump tells Fox News

April 12, 2023

Donald trump told Fox News he intends to run for president despite allegations. (FILE/AFP)


Former US president Donald Trump, in his first public interview after being arraigned on federal charges, had choice words for Joe Biden administration’s to describe its current state of relations with Saudi Arabia, which the Democratic leader earlier publicly denounced as a ‘pariah.’

“You take a look at Saudi Arabia, look at what happened. They are great people, they wanted to help us. He goes over there... he gets a fist bump. You know the fist bump means don’t shake my hand because your hand’s dirty… they were so insulted, do you understand that? Oh I don’t want to shake your hands, let’s go fist bump,” Trump told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson in an hour-long interview.

Trump, the first former US president to face criminal charges, also said he would not drop his bid for a White House return if convicted of the 34 counts of falsifying business records that were filed against him.

“No, I’d never drop out – it’s not my thing. I wouldn’t do it.”

The US Constitution does not prevent someone who has been charged with or convicted of a crime from seeking or holding office.

Trump likewise said that he does not see Joe Biden running for re-election in 2024: “I think it is almost inappropriate for me to say it, but I don’t see how it is possible. And it is not an age thing.”

“There is something wrong. I saw his answer today on television about where or not he is gonna [seek re-election]... that was a long answer... I don’t think he can, but say what you want. They did not expect him to get in, people could say he won an election… They are surrounded by vicious smart people, radical left people,” Trump said.

One possible candidate that could lead the Democrats for the 2024 elections, the former US president said, would be vice president Kamara Harris.

“Obviously, the one they would talk about would be the vice president, Kamala. I don’t think she has performed well on the big stage, maybe I’m wrong. But there would be a certain group of people who would go crazy if it is not her, they’re gonna be very angry if it’s not her.”

Trump also quipped about the US shooting ‘57 missiles into Syria’ while having chocolate cake with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, while the Asian leader was on a visit.

“President Xi was top of the line smart, our guy never was… President Xi was a brilliant man... there is nobody like him, we have a great relationship,” Trump commented.

Trump also narrated his 57-minute visit to the New York courthouse for his arraignment: “They were incredible… they signed me in, and I’d tell you people were crying, people that worked there. They have no problems putting in murderers, and they see everybody. It’s a tough place, and they were crying and said ‘I’m sorry.’”

Source: Arab News

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Agra cow slaughter case: Four Hindu Mahasabha members arrested for falsely implicating Muslims

Four members of Hindutva group All India Hindu Mahasabha were arrested on Wednesday for falsely implicating four Muslims in a cow slaughter case in Agra, reported The Hindu.

The four members – Sanjay Jat, Jitendra Kushwaha, Brajesh Bhadoria and Saurabh Sharma – had hatched the conspiracy to settle a rivalry, the police said.

They have been booked under Section 429 (mischief by killing or maiming cattle), 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and sections of the Uttar Pradesh Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act, according to The Times of India.

On March 30, Kushwaha had filed a first information report against four Muslims – Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Nakim and Mohammad Shanu and Imran Qureshi – for slaughtering a cow. However, police investigation later revealed that the four men had nothing to do with the incident.

“Jitendra [Kushwaha] was found to have lied to us during the interrogation,” Additional Commissioner of Police RK Singh had said. “He, Sanjay [Jat] and a few others were near the spot of the cow slaughter, call records suggest, not those they named in the police complaint. Call records also show that the accused persons had not gone to that spot in over a month.”

On Wednesday, the police said they found that five other Muslim men had colluded with the four members of the Hindutva group. Two of them have been identified as Imran Qureshi and Shanu, according to the Hindustan Times.

The police had arrested Quereshi and Shanu on April 6, who admitted to the conspiracy against the four Muslim men.

“So far, seven people have been arrested in the case,” Singh said. “One of them surrendered himself.”

All India Hindu Mahasabha state unit president Rishi Trivedi claimed that his group members were being falsely implicated.

“They had informed the police about cow slaughtering and reached the spot before them,” Trivedi claimed. “Now, police have booked them in the case. It appears to be part of a conspiracy.”

He said that Jat and others were planning to go to Lucknow on Thursday to hold a press conference about the case but were arrested a day before.

Source: Scroll

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Quotas For Dalit Muslims, Christians: SC Wonders If It Can Rely OnRangnath Misra Panel Report The Govt Has Not Accepted

12 APR 2023

What is the effect of the report of a Commission of Inquiry that has been rejected or not accepted by the government and whether the empirical data which formed the basis of the report can be looked at while determining a constitutional issue, the Supreme Court wondered on Wednesday while considering the question of quotas for Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians.

The court referred to the report of the Rangnath Mishra Commission which had recommended including Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians in the Scheduled Caste list. The government has

not accepted the report, calling it "flawed”.

The apex court was hearing the pleas, including those which have alleged that the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 is discriminatory and violative of Articles 14 (equality before law) and 15 (prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste etc) of the Constitution as it discriminates against Scheduled Caste converts to religions other than Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism.

The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950, as amended from time to time, says no person professing a religion other than Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism shall be deemed to be a member of a Scheduled Caste (SC).

A bench headed by Justice S K Kaul was told by advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for one of the petitioners, that the government has not accepted the 2007 report of Justice Ranganath Misra Commission, which had recommended inclusion of Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims in the Scheduled Castes list, and has formed a new commission headed by former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan.

"Now, they (government) are saying that they have appointed another commission. There is more than enough material on the basis of which the court can proceed. Should this court wait again and again for the government to appoint a commission? There is no reason for this court to await the report of the commission," Bhushan insisted before a bench, also comprising Justices A Amanullah and Aravind Kumar.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) K M Nataraj, appearing for the Centre, said the commission headed by Justice Balakrishnan is doing its work and relevant material and data have to be collected.

"There was Justice Ranganath Misra Commission. It gave its report and you, in your wisdom, said you do not accept it. You constituted another commission. Should we wait till the commission responds?" the bench asked.  

Nataraj, while referring to a previous judgement of the apex court, said a categorical study is needed and the court should await the response of the new commission constituted to go into the issue.

Senior advocate C U Singh, appearing for another petitioner, contended merely saying the government has appointed another commission means nothing.

"What will be the status of the report of a commission of inquiry which is not accepted by the government?" the bench asked.

"My question is, if a report is not accepted, what is the status of findings in the report or the empirical data. Can we rely on the empirical data from a report which is not accepted to deal with the constitutional issue raised?" Justice Kaul wanted to know.

The bench also asked can a writ be issued to include something in the Presidential Order.

Bhushan, who said the pleas were filed way back in 2004, contended the petitioners have placed on record several authoritative studies apart from the fact that Justice Misra commission went through the material and gave its report.

The bench observed the petitioners are seeking to say that over a period of time, there may be different commissions and there are political considerations as well.

"The problem is that almost two decades have gone by," the bench said, adding the government has not accepted the report of the Justice Misra commission and many commissions have faced a similar scenario.

"The apprehension is, how many commissions of inquiry will be set up?" it said.

Nataraj read out the terms of reference of the new commission and said Justice Misra commission had not gone into all the aspects.

"Probably you need to check the report. You are making too generalised a statement on a report. The report is not that perfunctory," the bench said.

It observed social stigma and religious stigma are different things and social stigma may continue even after a person has converted to another religion.

"We cannot shut our eyes when we are considering constitutional questions," the bench observed.

During the arguments, Bhushan said in January 2011, the apex court had referred to three constitutional issues which arose in the matter, including whether a Scheduled Caste person professing a religion different from Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism can be deprived of the benefit of Paragraph 3 of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950, in violation of Articles 14, 15, 16 and 25 of the Constitution of India.

"There is no difficulty in examining a constitutional question. But what would be the effect if the government does not accept the report of a commission," the bench wondered.

Bhushan said the government accepting or not accepting the report is not material.

"Another issue that has been flagged is what is the effect of report of a commission of inquiry which is rejected or not accepted by the government. Whether the empirical data which formed the basis of the report can be looked into....," the bench said, adding that these aspects require a debate.

It posted the matter for resumed hearing on July 11.

In its reply filed earlier in the apex court on one of the pleas, the Centre had said The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 does not suffer from any "unconstitutionality" and the exclusion of Christianity and Islam was due to the reason that the "oppressive system" of untouchability was not prevalent in either of these two religions.

The government had told the top court it has not accepted the report of the Justice Ranganath Misra Commission as it was "flawed".

The Centre had last year appointed a commission headed by former CJI K G Balakrishnan to examine giving SC status to new people who claim to have "historically" belonged to the SCs but have converted to a religion other than those mentioned in the Presidential Orders.


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Chandrakant Patil should’ve avoided questioning Bal Thackeray’s role in Babri mosque demolition: Mumbai BJP chief

April 12, 2023

The central leadership of the BJP is reportedly displeased with Maharashtra cabinet minister Chandrakant Patil over his controversial remark questioning the role of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray in the Babri mosque demolition.

Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi Wednesday to purportedly discuss the issue.

After the meeting, Shelar told media persons: “Chandrakant Patil should have avoided making such a comment on Bal Thackeray and Babri mosque.”

“The BJP does not endorse his remark. It was Patil’s personal opinion,” he added.

Shelar further said, “The collective spontaneous response of kar sevaks led to the demolition of the Babri mosque.”

Claiming that the BJP has never taken credit for the Ramjanmabhoomi movement, he said: “The credit goes to the Sakal Hindu Samaj that wanted a magnificent Ram temple in Ayodhya.”

Shelar said, “Bal Thackeray’s support and contribution to the Ramjanmabhoomi movement is laudable. He was always very supportive of the cause. We hold him in high reverence.”

“However, the question is what was Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray’s contribution to the Ramjanmabhoomi movement,” he asked.

The ruling BJP and Shiv Sena (Shinde faction) have come under attack from Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena (UBT) following Patil’s comment.

A couple of days ago, Patil said: “Bal Thackeray’s Shiv Sena played no role in the Babri demolition. The movement was led by the VHP, Bajrang Dal, and Durga Vahini.”

Source: Indian Express

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Delhi: Madrasa of 250-yr-old mosque bulldozed, officials claim encroachment

12th April 2023

A madrasa of a 250-year-old mosque was bulldozed for alleged encroachment in Bengali Market, New Delhi on Tuesday morning. During the process, a portion of the mosque was also demolished.

The Land and Development Office (L&DO) under the Ministry of Urban Development amid heavy police presence bulldozed the structure. Its chief Suvasish Das stated that the demotion was carried out after a judicial order was passed.

“I have nothing more to comment on the matter. The mosque is around 250 years old. The portion which was demolished was constructed recently. Two rooms were also constructed during the renovation,” Das said.

The general secretary of the Islamic seminary Madrasa Tehfizul Quran, Matlub Karim Hafiz, said that the action was carried out at 6:30 am without issuing any prior notice to the mosque authorities.

“I was at home when I received a call in the morning about the deployment of a huge force and civic body officials approaching the mosque site to demolish a portion of it,” Hafiz said.

“They bulldozed the walls of the main hall and rooms of the Madrasa within 10 minutes. This land belongs to the Waqf Board. We have also checked with the board and no prior notice was served to them before demolition. These are not illegal structures,” he added.

The mosque, otherwise known as BachhonWali Masjid, hosted over 120 Muslim children mostly from unprivileged backgrounds. “The children were provided food, and this was their home and school as well. Now where will they go?” asked Hafiz.

Idris Khan, a treasure at the mosque claimed, “The court hearing regarding the matter is pending. Even the beds were destroyed during the drive.”

An L&DO officer claimed that no hostel was bulldozed. “The demolished area was used as a verandah,” the official added.

“Forty years ago, the L&DO department had provided the land on lease for a coal depot. But the original allottee built an ice cream parlour thus violating the agreement. The parlour was sealed. After that, the mosque was gradually expanded to a few rooms that encroached on the land. This extension has been going around for eight years,” the officer said.

Source:Siasat Daily

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Need to examine if caste can be imputed to religions that don’t recognize it: SC

April 13, 2023

The Supreme Court on Wednesday wondered if caste can be imputed to religions like Christianity and Islam that do not recognise it in their religious structure.

“Can caste be imputed to other religions when the religion does not provide for any such discrimination in its structure…,” Justice S K Kaul presiding over a three-judge bench questioned while hearing petitions seeking Scheduled Caste status for those who have converted to Christianity and Islam.

The bench, also comprising Justices Ahsanuddin Amanullah and Aravind Kumar, said this is one of the issues which will have to be considered in the matter.

The bench fixed the matter for further hearing in July and said it will also have to examine whether the report of a commission of inquiry which has not been accepted by the government or the empirical data in it, can be relied upon to sustain a challenge before a court of law, and whether a presidential order can be amended by way of a writ issued by the court.

The petitioners have contended that “the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950, which was amended to say that only Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs will be considered as Scheduled Castes is unconstitutional as it discriminates on grounds of religion.

Opposing the petitions, Senior Advocate Guru Krishnakumar appearing for an association of Scheduled Caste Hindus said “the writ seeks to amend the presidential order by way of a judicial writ. The prayer lies in the domain of pure policy of the legislature or the executive as the case may be”, adding converts to Christianity were expressly kept out of SC status even in the first census.

He said the petitioners were trying to challenge a constitutional order on the basis of alleged violation of Article 14 and 15 and added “this is complete over-simplification of the constitutional position. You need to show a violation of the Constitution which is clearly affecting the basic structure because you are dealing with a constitutional provision”.

Krishnakumar pointed out that the SC had considered the question in many election petitions and consistently held that Scheduled Castes is a different basket. “This basket, constitutional framers have consciously confined it to Hindu Scheduled Castes who are enumerated in the Scheduled Caste order and is not applicable to other religions which proclaim to be egalitarian,” he said.

The counsel also submitted there were provisions to address problems of untouchability which members of these other religions can make use of.

Justice Amanullah said it may not be correct to argue that people get converted to lose their caste identity.

“We have not gone into why they have converted. The second point…untouchability act…the same thing applies to the majority community also. That means social stigmas are carried across. Social stigma and religious stigma are two different things. I may convert religion for very different purposes. But if social stigma continues, that is why reservation for SCs. Otherwise today Constitution does not recognise any untouchability…That is why the need for these reservations today. Otherwise now the law under the Constitution, there is no untouchability, nothing. Every citizen is a citizen of India, that’s the only identity. But now things are not that at the ground level and at the society level. And we can’t shut our eyes when we are considering this… Then why can’t the court examine whether under constitutional framework, such kind of compartmentalisation is permissible or not?”

Appearing for some of the petitioners, Advocate Prashant Bhushan said they had filed several reports including the Ranganath Mishra Commission report in support of the demand for extending SC reservation to the other religions as well.

Additional Solicitor General K M Nataraj appearing for the Centre urged the court to wait till the new commission appointed by the Centre under chairmanship of Justice K G Balakrishnan comes out with its report. “What is the data made available to the government to make a conscious decision, that is the crucial aspect, that has to be considered…The Justice Balakrishnan Commission is constituted for a specific purpose, with a specific reference, with a statutory backing. It will have a larger value,” he said.

Bhushan, however, said the government accepting a report or not is irrelevant to the question whether there is material to back the petitioner’s prayers.

He contended that “the only ground on which the discrimination could be justified would be that by conversion… your social status changes completely and therefore there is adequate ground for discriminating on the ground of that religion. So that’s the test. Whether the government accepts or not is irrelevant to that question”.

Justice Kaul added that “linked with that will also be this question, what is the structure of the three religions. Do they recognise the caste system or not? And what is the effect?”

The judge added that some of the material are points of view and don’t have a statutory flavour. “The only thing which has a flavour of recognition is the Ranganath Mishra Commission report …,” he said, adding “what is the status of these commissions of inquiry? If they…are not accepted, to what extent can they be relied upon?”.

Justice Amanullah told the petitioners that “the only point which you can delve into and assist the court is the original empirical data, maybe in the report or whatever. Not the report per se or the comment…. empirical data which is reasonable, which is reliable, has a persuasive value, you can assist the court with that”.

Source: Indian Express

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Art, literature can’t be termed ‘obscene’ sans holistic review: SC

Hassan Belal Zaidi

April 13, 2023

KARACHI: In a landmark judgement describing ‘obscene’ and ‘vulgar’ material as something that is “offensive to the commonly accepted standards of decency”, the Supreme Court on Wednesday held that the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and right to information apply not only to ideas that are favourably received, but also to those which offend, shock or disturb the state or any other sector of the population.

The order came on a petition filed by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) against ARY Communications Pvt Ltd, appealing a Sindh High Court order that struck down the watchdog’s punitive measures against the channel over the broadcast of the drama serial ‘Jalan’.

The top court, declining the watchdog’s petition for leave to appeal the high court ruling, said that Pemra could only take action after a review of the objectionable aspect of the drama serial in question had been referred to the council of complaints.

A two-judge bench consisting of Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Ayesha A. Malik had taken up the case of the serial, which had elicited complaints from citizens who thought the show was immoral and against cultural values, and Pemra had passed an order in Sept 2020, prohibiting the serial from being broadcast.

The channel then approached the Sindh High Court, objecting to Pemra’s jurisdiction to issue show cause notices without obtaining the opinion of the council of complaints, under Section 26 of the Pemra ordinance. The high court had allowed the appeal, and Pemra then approached the apex court.

In their order, the two SC judges noted that Pemra was bound to obtain the opinion of a council of complaints regarding the objectionable aspect of a programme and could not have bypassed this step.

Noting that there was no bar on Pemra to take notice, either suo motu or on information received, of any alleged contravention of its rules, the judgement pointed out that the law called for such matters to be referred to a council of complaints that would review the same and render its opinion, as per Section 26 of the Pemra Ordinance. After considering the said opinion, Pemra or its chairman can take a final decision, the judgement noted.

Under Section 26 of the Pemra Ordinance, the federal government is bound to establish councils of complaints at Islamabad, the provincial capitals and other places, which should consist of a chairperson and five members “being citizens of eminence from the general public at least two of whom shall be women”.

What is considered obscene or vulgar?

The fundamental point that needs to be noted, the judgement said, is that the exhibition of any kind of works of art and literature is a part of the fundamental right to freedom of expression guaranteed by Article 19 of the Constitution.

The judgement noted that only that form of an expression can be said to be “obscene” or “vulgar” which is “offensive to the commonly accepted standards of decency”. Thus, the “commonly accepted standards of decency” in the community is the benchmark to determine whether or not a particular form of the expression of one’s thought, idea or opinion in a play or drama is “obscene” or “vulgar”.

The important thing to understand, the judgement noted, is that the commonly accepted standard of decency in a community is a “standard of tolerance, not taste”.

It is not what the people generally think is right for them to see but what they would not tolerate others being exposed to it on the basis of the degree of harm to “public decency” or “public morality” that may flow from such exposure, the order noted.

Further, the judgement noted, the expression “commonly accepted standards of decency” must be understood to be the contemporary standards as the social mores and sensibilities change over time.

A work of art and literature, which includes a play or drama broadcast on the electronic media, is usually considered a strong and effective medium to break the silence on social taboos; therefore, it is not to be labelled as “obscene” or “vulgar” readily without appraising the message it intends to convey, the order said.

In this perspective, one would need to see whether that message tends to promote or glorify the conduct or behavior which is offensive to the commonly accepted standards of decency, or it tends to condemn or deprecate such conduct or behavior.

Such a review is to be undertaken on an objective assessment of the play or drama as a whole, not on the basis of pick and choose of its parts from here and there, the judges stressed.

Source: Dawn

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Islam becomes 'fastest growing religion' in the world

11 Apr, 2023

Religion plays a significant role in shaping the modern world and understanding it for individuals and communities alike. Throughout history religious beliefs and institutions have influenced political, social and economic trends. However, the dominant global religions have shifted over time. Prior to the spread of Christianity, paganism was the dominant faith in Europe, while local religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism held sway elsewhere.

Christianity, having emerged more than two millennia ago, quickly became the most widespread Abrahamic religion worldwide, holding this position until the start of the 21st century. Nonetheless, current patterns indicate that Christianity will soon lose its place as the world's most populous religion to Islam in the latter half of the 21st century.

Currently, Islam is the world's fastest-growing global religion, with nearly 2 billion Muslims worldwide. These shifts in religious demographics carry significant implications for the future of international society and culture.

Furthermore, factors such as high birth rates, conversions and migration to Muslim-majority countries have contributed to the significant growth of Islam. The spread of religion through social media and other digital platforms has also played a role in increasing its popularity among younger generations. As Islam gains ground globally, its influence on society and culture will undoubtedly continue to grow.

A recent report by the Pew Research Center shows that Islam is currently the fastest-growing religion in the world, with projections that it will surpass Christianity by 2070. This growth can largely be attributed to the concentration of Muslim populations in some of the fastest-growing regions of the world. As of 2010, Christianity was the largest religion in the world with an estimated 2.2 billion adherents, while Islam was the second largest with 1.6 billion adherents.

Source: DailyPakistan

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Ruling coalition rejects ‘controversial’ SC bench set to hear pleas against law to clip CJP’s powers

Tahir Sherani

April 13, 2023

The ruling coalition — the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) — on Thursday rejected the Supreme Court bench set to hear petitions against a pending legislation meant to clip the Chief Justice of Pakistan’s powers, saying that the apex court’s move to form a “controversial bench” even before the completion of the legislative process was “unprecedented” and unacceptable.

The bill, titled the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023, is aimed at depriving the office of the CJP of powers to take suo motu notice in an individual capacity. It was initially passed by both houses of parliament and sent to the president for his assent. However, the president had sent it back, saying that the proposed law travelled “beyond the competence of parliament”.

On Monday, the bill was passed by a joint sitting of parliament with certain amendments, amid a noisy protest from PTI lawmakers.

An eight-judge Supreme Court bench, headed by the chief justice, will take up a set of three petitions challenging the bill at 11:30am today.

In addition to CJP, the bench comprises Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Ayesha A. Malik, Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Shahid Waheed.

Source: Dawn

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Karachi factory blaze leaves four dead, 13 injured as building collapses

Imtiaz Ali

April 13, 2023

At least four people lost their lives and 13 others were injured in a devastating fire that broke out in a factory located in the New Karachi area of the city, resulting in significant damage to the building and its subsequent collapse, as confirmed by police.

“Four people died while 13 have been injured as a building collapsed near Karachi Kanta, New Karachi Industrial Area. All have been shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital,” a statement from the district central police spokesperson said.

It added that further investigation was underway.

Central District Deputy Commissioner (DC) Taha Saleem told that the fire had erupted in the factory in New Karachi at around 7:45am on Wednesday and was caused by a short circuit but rapidly spread and engulfed the clothes stored there.

He added that since the industrial unit was located in a “highly congested locality”, the firefighters faced difficulty in putting out the blaze.

“Due to the narrow streets, the snorkel could not reach the place as it required a certain space to move in the area,” DC Saleem said. He added that 10 fire tenders were called while water tankers had also been called.

“The operation to control the fire continued till 2am on Thursday when the fire was controlled, and then the cooling work started. It was a four-storey building and because of some [undetermined] reasons, the building collapsed.

“One probable cause was that its structure had been weakened by the heat. Besides, there was a heavy weight of accumulated water and the presence of clothes, etc, under whose impact, the industrial unit collapsed,” he continued.

Having supervised the operation, the DC said they were “exercising caution during the cooling work mostly from outside the building”. “Only a few firemen were present there and the cooling work was almost complete when the building collapsed.”

He said four people came under the building’s debris and were immediately rescued and saved while 13 others, including firefighters, suffered injuries. Five of the injured had been taken to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre while the other eight were taken to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, Saleem said.

He added, “It was immediately realised that four firemen were missing and they started searching but unfortunately, they have expired.”

The DC said all bodies had been handed over to the relatives after fulfilling legal formalities. He added that a team from Sindh Building Control Authority had been called who have conducted an assessment survey of the area and started demolishing the remaining part of the factory with heavy machinery.

The deceased were identified as Mohsin Sharif, Khalid Shehzad, Sohail, and Afzal.

A raging fire erupted on Wednesday in Usman & Sons Bedsheet Company in the New Karachi area’s Sector-16-B, located on Shehla Raza Road. The inferno persisted until the early hours of Thursday before the building collapsed, causing fatalities.

Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori also visited the site earlier today and expressed grief at the loss of lives.

He said, “Fourteen people were injured and till now, three people have lost their lives. Search for one is ongoing. I think that a bigger incident than this could not have occurred that on this holy night… I think they will be called martyrs and they will receive a high rank as they were on duty and busy with a task to save others’ lives.

“While saving others’ lives, while performing their duty, this building collapsed. The people who got trapped will be called martyrs,” he added.

Tessori, updating the death toll, assured the deceased’s families of the government’s support: “Four people have been martyred so I express my grief with their families and assure that the firefighters who lost their lives during their duty, taking care of their families is our first and foremost responsibility.

“Whatever may the reason behind the fire but you see such incidents happening after every few days, so we have to make sure that such incidents don’t take place and people don’t their lose their lives due to them.”

Source: Dawn

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Parliamentary body to examine changes proposed to poll law

Amir Wasim

April 13, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Using his “residuary powers” given in the rules, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani on Wednesday constituted an eight-member parliamentary committee to examine the amendments proposed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to poll laws.

The move from the Senate chairman came two days after receiving a letter from Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja suggesting that the parliament should do legislation to do away with the president’s role in determining date for general elections. The CEC also sent a similar letter to National Assem­bly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.

Letters on similar lines, signed by ECP Secretary Omar Hamid Khan, were also sent to the principal secretary to the prime minister and secretary for parliamentary affairs. Through these letters, the ECP proposed amendments to Sections 57(1) and 58 of the Elections Act 2017, reportedly stating that the commission wants its power back to announce and alter election schedule at any stage without any intervention by a third party.

According to a Senate Secretariat notification, the chairman constituted the committee in exercise of powers vested in him by Rule 264 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate, 2012, in consultation with the Natio­nal Assembly speaker “to examine the amendments proposed by the ECP in the Elections Act, 2017,” through a letter dated April 10.

Senate chairman forms panel on basis of CEC’s letter; Fawad terms communication a ‘foolish act’

The committee has four members each from the Senate and the National Assembly. Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Murtaza Javed Abbasi, both belon­ging to the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), will be the ex-officio members of the committee.

The committee comprises Senator Ali Zafar of the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Senator Kamran Murtaza of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F), Senator Taj Haider of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), independent Senator Dilawar Khan, PTI dissident MNA Dr Afzal Dhandla, Comm­erce Minister and PPP leader Syed Naveed Qamar, Mohsin Nawaz Ranjha of PML-N and Sabir Kaimkhani of the Mutt­a­h­idaQaumi Mov­ement-Pakistan (MQM-P).

Talking to Dawn, PTI’s Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry said the Senate chairman had constituted the committee without seeking the consent of his party. He, however, said that the party would make a decision about participation or boycott of the committee after in-house consultations.

Mr Chaudhry criticised the ECP for writing the letter and termed it a “foolish act”, stating that under no circumstances the ECP could run away from its responsibility of holding elections within 90 days of the disso­lution of any legislature as mentioned in the Constitution.

Senate’s Rule 264, titled “Residuary powers of the Chairman” reads, “All matters not specifically provided for in these rules and all questions relating to the detailed working of these rules shall be regulated in such manner as the chairman may, from time to time, direct.”

The CEC in his letter to the Senate chairman and the NA speaker had mentioned Section 11 of the original Representation of Peoples Act (ROPA) of 1976 which empowered the Commission to announce poll date unilaterally without any trace of intervention by a third party.

“The Section was amended through Ordin­ance No 11 of 1985 (12.1.1985) with the sole object to create the role of the president to hold the elections at the whims of one man,” writes the CEC.

“Amendment to Section 11 of ROPA 1976 introduced in 1985 was subsequently replicated in Section 57 of the Elections Act, 2017. Therefore, Section 57(1) of the Act to the extent of role of the president to announce poll date is against the spirit of the constitution and ultra vires of proviso of Article 222, as it has abridged and taken away the ECP powers mandated under Article 218(3) and 219,” read the letters, adding: “supplanting the amendments resulted in dilution of the authority of the constitutional mandate vested in the ECP on account of Article 218(3) of the Constitution.”

The CEC had reportedly noted that the March 1 and April 4 judgements of the Supreme Court had divested the ECP of its constitutional powers to determine as to whether conducive environment in fact and circumstances, existed for the conduct of elections in a given time, to meet the standards mentioned in Article 218(3) in letter and spirit.

Source: Dawn

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SHC rejects petition against media ban on Altaf

April 13, 2023

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Wednesday dismissed a petition seeking removal of a ban on media coverage of MuttahidaQaumi Movement founder Altaf Hussain.

After hearing parties concerned, a two-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh turned down the petition as the petitioner remained unable to satisfy the bench about maintainability of his petition.

Citing the secretaries of ministries of interior, law and information and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) as respondents, petitioner Mohammad AftabuddinBaqai submitted that after returning to Pakistan he came to know about a ban on media coverage of speeches of the MQM founder.

He said that the London-based Hussain had already apologised in respect of his Aug 22, 2016 controversial speech.

He contended that the party founder had not been convicted on the ground of hate speech in the United Kingdom as well as in Pakistan and sought a directive for the respondents to remove the ban on broadcast of his speeches and statements.

Source: Dawn

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Iranian delegation arrives in Riyadh to prepare for reopening of embassy: Tehran

12 April ,2023

An Iranian technical delegation arrived in Riyadh on Wednesday to pave the way for the reopening of Iran’s embassy in the Saudi capital, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman said.

The Iranian delegation will “take the necessary measures” to facilitate the reopening of the Iranian embassy in Riyadh, as well as the Iranian consulate and mission to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Jeddah, the semi-official Tasnim news agency cited Nasser Kanani as saying.

“Efforts will be made to reopen and activate our country’s representative offices in Saudi Arabia before the upcoming Hajj pilgrimage this year,” he said. Hajj 2023 begins on June 26.

Kanani added that the Saudi delegation that was in Tehran on Saturday to discuss reopening the Kingdom’s diplomatic missions in Iran will be leaving for Mashhad on Thursday to discuss reopening the Saudi consulate there.

This comes after Saudi Arabia and Iran announced last month that they had reached an agreement, brokered by China, to reestablish diplomatic relations.

Under the deal, the two countries have committed to reopening their embassies and missions within two months, as well as implementing security and economic cooperation agreements that were signed over 20 years ago.

Saudi Arabia severed ties with Iran in 2016 following an attack by supporters of the Iranian regime on Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran and consulate in Mashhad.

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian held a meeting in Beijing on April 6, marking the first such meeting in over seven years.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iran executions surge 75 percent in 2022: Human rights group

13 April ,2023

Iran hanged at least 582 people in 2022, a 75 percent rise in the number of executions over the previous year as protests shook the country, two rights groups said Thursday.

It was the highest number since 2015 and well above the figure of 333 in 2021, the report by Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) and Paris-based Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM) said.

Iran hanged at least 582 people in 2022, a 75 percent rise in the number of executions over the previous year as protests shook the country, two rights groups said Thursday.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Spokesman: Iran Seeking to Reopen Missions in Saudi Arabia Before Hajj


In a statement on Wednesday, Kana’ani said a “technical delegation” from Iran arrived in Riyadh on Wednesday to discuss the implementation of an agreement reached between the two sides last month to resume diplomatic relations, and was welcomed by Saudi officials.

“In two working groups in Riyadh and Jeddah, the Iranian delegation will take the necessary measures to set up an embassy and a consulate general, as well as the permanent representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC),” he explained.

“Efforts will be made to reopen and activate the representative offices of our country before the annual Hajj days of this year,” the spokesperson added.

The official also noted that the technical delegation of Saudi Arabia, which had arrived in Iran on Saturday, will leave for Mashhad tomorrow.

Iran and Saudi Arabia announced on March 10 a Chinese-brokered deal to restore ties seven years after they were severed. In a joint statement after signing the agreement, Tehran and Riyadh highlighted the need to respect each others’ national sovereignty and refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of one another.

On Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud met in China in the first formal meeting of the two countries’ top diplomats in seven years.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iranian President: Israelis in Rush to Evacuate Palestinian Lands


During a speech on the occasion of the Qadr Night in Tehran on Tuesday, Rayeesi referred to an internal political and social crisis in the occupied territories as a sign that the downfall of the Zionist regime will be much more imminent than expected.

The president added that Zionists are fighting each other and they are in a hurry to destroy themselves.

The Iranian president also referred to a statement made by Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei several years ago which indicated that the Zionist regime will cease to exist a quarter of century from then.

Israel has been grappling with grave domestic and international crises in recent months. The occupied territories have been the scene of massive rallies for the past 14 consecutive weeks over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's judicial overhaul.

Critics see the cabinet's drive as a threat to the court's independence and an attempt at a legal coup.

“We will carry out our political and spiritual duty on the Quds day,” Rayeesi stressed.

In early April, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said that the internal crises within the Israeli regime have accelerated the collapse of the Zionists to happen even before the 25-year deadline previously declared by him.

While referring to the Zionist regime as an enemy of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khamenei pointed out that during the regime’s 75 years of existence, it has never faced problems like the dire ones it is facing today.

"The Zionist regime has political instability and has changed four prime ministers in four years; party coalitions collapse before forming; there is an extreme bipolarity throughout the fake regime, which is highlighted by the demonstrations of hundreds of thousands of people in some cities. It is not possible for them to try to make up for these weaknesses by firing a few rockets," the Leader stated, while giving examples of the Zionist regime’s chaotic and collapsing state.

He considered the warnings of Israeli officials regarding the nearing collapse of the Zionist regime as another sign of their weakening.

“We had mentioned [in 2015] that the Zionist regime would not see 25 years from then, but it seems as though they themselves are in a rush and want to leave sooner,” the Supreme Leader stressed.

Iran describes Israel as the root cause of the region’s instability and insecurity, but also stresses Israel's US-supported barbarity will not change the inevitable fate of the Tel Aviv regime.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran Showcases Indigenously-Manufactured Jammer Drone for First Time


The Iranian Army's Ground Force unveiled its first domestically-built jammer unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) designing to disrupt the communication between hostile drone and their controllers.

The jammer drone is the Iranian Army’s first UAV with the capability to operate and support electronic warfare and electronic offense against the enemy’s communication networks.

Brig. Gen. Nemati said that Iran's Army Ground Force designs and develops its hardware and systems in harmony with potential future wars.

The top commander highlighted the greatly-enhanced capabilities of the Ground Force’s unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which are armed with guided missiles and bombs.

The senior military official added that the ground force has been armed with e-warfare drones for the first time, something that will further strengthen the country’s defense power in the face of enemy threats.

Mohajer 6 jammer drone, equipped with a high-tech system capable of transmitting interfering radio signals, was inaugurated in a ceremony attended by Commander of the Iranian Army Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi and a number of senior commanders of the Iran's Army's Ground Force on Tuesday.

The jammer UAV, along with 1,084 types of new military equipment and weapons, upgraded, reproduced and produced by the Army's Ground Force, joined the operational units of the force after the ceremony.

The newly-joined military equipment and weapons cover the fields of armor, artillery, rockets, drones, helicopters and electronic warfare.

Among the items that have gone into operation are “Kian-800” tank transporter, pontoon bridges, a grenade launcher simulator, “Arash” electronic warfare system, tactical command and control vehicles, transportation vehicles used to set up portable telecommunication stations, a tactical cellular system providing mobile network coverage, and “Majid” air defense system.

Some other products unveiled on Tuesday include “Almas” missiles, “Qaem” bombs, “Dehlaviyeh-2” anti-tank missiles, three night-vision optical systems, “Shafaq” chaff and flare countermeasure systems and missiles paired with Cobra attack helicopters, “Fath-360” missile systems, smart shells with pinpoint accuracy and various artillery weapons.

Iran has in recent years gained significant progress in developing surveillance and combat drones. Military officials say Tehran is self-sufficient in building drones from their fuselage to various subsystems and engines, adding the country’s Armed Forces are equipped and ready to carry out any type of drone operations and missions. Tehran stresses its drone capability is non-negotiable.

Back in late May, Iran showed off an underground drone base where a range of advanced drones were housed and operated for potential combat and other missions.

During his visit, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri underscored that the pilotless aircraft have enhanced Iran's deterrence power.

He underlined the significance of drones in defending the country's interests, and added that they have found a special place in different defensive, offensive, land, sea, air and air defense areas. 

Noting that deterrence is not possible with old methods and equipment and requires new methods, Maj. Gen. Baqeri stated that “the drones that we saw today can play such a role”.

The Islamic Republic’s military doctrine holds that the country’s armed capability solely serves defensive purposes.

Iranian military experts and technicians have in recent years made substantial headway in manufacturing a broad range of indigenous equipment, making the armed forces self-sufficient in the weaponry sphere.

Source: Fars News Agency

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AEOI Spokesman: High Quality of Iran's Heavy Water Acknowledged by US


Kamalvandi made the remarks while elaborating on AEOI’s accomplishments in using the nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, including for the development of highly-needed medicines and in agricultural production processes.

The official stated that the United States was once trying to buy heavy water from Iran because of the high quality of isotope which is a byproduct of the nuclear enrichment process.

“We should know that the heavy water produced in Iran is among the best in the world and even the Americans were once trying to purchase it (from Iran) after they analyzed its properties,” the spokesperson continued.

He added that US officials have mentioned in various documents that the heavy water produced in Iran has a high quality.

The official stated that heavy water was a subject of dispute over Irani's nuclear program and attempts were made to prevent Tehran from running heavy water plants.

“Due to containing deuterium, the water that undergoes enrichment is used in various fields of medicine and fusion, which is the future source of energy for humans,” Kamalvandi continued.

Iran has in recent years turned into an exporter of heavy water to foreign states. Iranian nuclear officials have stated that Tehran is producing enough heavy water inside the country, and is even exporting surplus to several states.

In May 2016, then-head of AEOI Ali Akbar Salehi announced that several European states have shown interest in purchasing heavy water supplies from Iran.

Deputy head of the AEOI Ali AsqarZare'an also announced in February 2017 that Tehran is evaluating the European states’ requests for buying heavy water from Tehran.

"After Iran sold 70 tons of its heavy water to Russia and US, some European countries have voiced their willingness to buy Iran’s heavy water," Zare'an told reporters on the sidelines of a Nuclear Expert Exhibition in Tehran.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Gaza shoppers defy blockade with Ramadan economy revival


April 13, 2023

GAZA CITY: At the beginning of Ramadan in the Gaza Strip, market activity surges as shoppers rush to buy food and household items, defying deteriorating economic conditions caused by the Israeli blockade.

Large crowds of pedestrians and queues of cars can be seen in and around market areas, with grocery and household stores packed with customers.

Merchants and store owners see the month of Ramadan as an opportunity to revive their businesses, increase demand from Palestinian consumers and compensate for long periods of stagnation and poor economic conditions.

“There is no improvement in the economic situation in the Gaza Strip, but most people tend to save part of their money and salaries for the month of Ramadan to purchase their needs, which enhances the purchasing movement,” Mohammed Abu Jbara, a shop owner in Gaza, told Arab News.

“We seek to provide larger quantities of foodstuffs related to the month of Ramadan in particular, due to the increased demand about a month before the advent of the month,” he added.

Despite the Gaza Strip suffering from a deteriorating economy due to the Israeli blockade since mid-2007, as well as the high unemployment rate and dependence of Gazans on food aid from international institutions, the month of Ramadan remains a an opportunity to restore the economy as part of the area’s recovery.

Those fasting in Ramadan focus on foodstuffs to prepare daily meals for iftar, and women are interested in buying home and kitchen supplies from household appliances stores. The sale of meat of all kinds, fresh and frozen, also surges during the holy month, while clothing and other sectors see a decline before a revival ahead of Eid Al-Fitr.

“When I got my salary at the beginning of the month, I kept more than half of it to buy the needs for the month of Ramadan. The expenses in this month increase to at least double,” said DiaSaadi, 45, who was shopping for his family.

He added: “Even those with limited incomes cannot bypass the month of Ramadan and not buy their own needs. There are unavoidable requirements for the family and those who are fasting.”

Public transportation and sweet shops also see a sharp rise in activity during the holy month.

“Transportation increases dramatically, sometimes up to three times more than normal days. We suffer most of the year, and we wait for events in order to get some money by working in the month of Ramadan in particular." Ammar Daban, 30, a taxi driver, told Arab News.

Payments by the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas government in Gaza for the monthly salaries of employees also contributed to the increase in spending.

Othman Abu Al-Nada, the official in charge of the Al-Nada dairy factory, said that product sales had increased by 70 percent in the lead-up to Ramadan.

Economists agree that the holy month is an opportunity for the deteriorating Palestinian economy to experience a short-term revival.

Hamed Jad, an economic journalist, told Arab News: “Ramadan is a great opportunity for food merchants. There is a significant and noticeable purchasing movement this year, more than a week ago before the start of the month.”

Source: Arab News

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North America


Eastern Syria helicopter raid captures top ISIS/Daesh operative: US




US Central Command Forces captured Hudayfah al Yemeni, an ISIS/Daesh terror group attack facilitator and two associates in a helicopter raid in eastern Syria, according to a statement.

No civilians were killed or injured in the operation that took place late April 8 and the capture of al Yemeni will disrupt the terror group’s ability to carry out operations, it said.

“Operations against ISIS are important for the security and stability of the region,” said CENTCOM spokesperson Col. Joe Buccino in the statement.

“ISIS/Daesh is still a threat in the region and beyond, and the group still has the capability to carry out operations in Syria and Iraq,” said Buccino.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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‘Just like everyone else': Muslim Americans strive to make Eid Al Fitr a school holiday

Jihan Abdalla

Apr 13, 2023

It all started last year, when Saamih Bashir’s eldest son, Kareem, a ninth-grade pupil in the US state of Michigan, started complaining about never having the day off from school during Eid Al Fitr.

Instead of being able to enjoy the celebrations and time with his family, Kareem said he was stressed out.

“He went to the school board meeting and said that we always have to struggle during Eid, always having to choose between schoolwork and celebrating the holiday,” said Mr Bashir, 47, a Muslim-American father of four.

Now Mr Bashir and others are in the process of forming a Muslim parents’ council. They are also working on submitting an official petition asking the Plymouth Canton Community school system to have Eid Al Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, declared a school holiday.

A 2021 study by the Pew Research Centre found that there are about 3.85 million Muslims in the US — a little more than 1 per cent of the population. Of that number, about 1.35 million are school-aged children.

Most school districts across the country have historically maintained calendars that only take Christian holidays into account, mainly Christmas and Easter. Some districts with large Jewish populations also mark Jewish holidays.

In 2015, New York City, where about 10 per cent of the school-aged population identifies as Muslim, announced that it would close the public school system in observance of Eid Al Adha and Eid Al Fitr.

Several other school districts in big cities followed suit, including Philadelphia, Baltimore and a number of districts in Minnesota, all of which have sizeable Muslim populations.

Now, more pupils and parents in smaller districts in Michigan, California, New Jersey, Connecticut and other communities across the country are advocating Muslim holidays to become integrated into school calendars.

“My son is doing his part and I’m doing mine,” Mr Bashir, who lives in Canton, Michigan, told The National. “I don't give up. If one way doesn't work, I will try another way. And I will keep trying until it happens.”

Canton, located west of the city of Detroit, has a population of about 100,000. For Eid, Mr Bashir, who was born in Cairo, says about 4,000 people typically show up for prayers and celebrations at the city’s three mosques.

After prayers, the mosques host festivals with food trucks, games and rides for children.

Gesture of equality

“When students are in a school district that has closed for Eid, it is a very clear sign that the school district sees them as a viable component of their school district community,” AmaarahDeCuir, a senior lecturer in education at the American University in Washington, tells The National.

“It is seen as an action of validation for their religious priorities.”

According to her research, about 19 school districts have made the move so far, she says.

But there are many challenges, Ms DeCuir says, including a common concern among school administrators that recognising Muslim holidays would mean that other minority religious groups in the US could make similar demands, at a time when schoolchildren already have many days off every year.

“There is this idea that if we close for this holiday, are we closing for all holidays? How are we making this decision?” Ms DeCuir says.

Drastic change

Research shows that pupils do better academically when they are in an inclusive environment that fosters their sense of belonging.

Following the 9/11 attacks, Muslims in America were subjected to hate crimes and discrimination, including in schools.

Under former president Donald Trump, who took office in 2016, Islamophobia saw a resurgence after he made a number of incendiary comments, including falsely claiming that Muslims in New Jersey had celebrated the 9/11 attacks.

His administration also passed legislation that banned citizens from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the country.

Despite this, Muslim Americans have been gaining more positive visibility.

In 2019, two Muslim women were elected to Congress, and the 2022 midterm elections saw a record number of Muslim Americans elected to office.

Mr Bashir, meanwhile, says he is hopeful that his efforts will be successful soon. So far, more than 400 parents have signed the petition to make Eid Al Fitr a holiday, he says.

Source: TheNationalNews

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Canadian Muslims on edge after attacks on mosques during Ramadan

Willy Lowry


Apr 13, 2023

Muslim communities across Canada are on edge after a series of attacks at mosques during Ramadan.

Last week, a man entered a mosque in Markham, Ontario - a suburb of Toronto - and began to shout threats and racial slurs at worshippers as he tore apart a Quran.

He then proceeded to exit the mosque, get in a vehicle and attempt to run over a worshipper, the Islamic Society of Markham said in a statement.

York Regional Police have arrested Sharan Karunakaran, 28, and charged him with making threats, assault with a weapon and dangerous driving.

Canada’s newly appointed special representative on combating Islamophobia visited the mosque on Monday and met members of the local community.

“Sadly, the attack at the Markham mosque is not an isolated incident,” Amira Elghawaby said on twitter.

“It comes after a number of recent hate-motivated attacks and leaves communities uneasy and fearful for their loved ones who frequent places of worship.”

Days after the Markham incident, a man drove up to another mosque in Markham, blocked the entrance and shouted derogatory comments at worshippers.

York Regional Police arrested Mohssen Bayani, 47, on April 10 on several charges of assault and one count of mischief.

In Montreal, police are investigating a possible hate crime after a man used a rock to break into Al-Omah Al-Islamiah mosque on Sunday.

“It is an unfortunate reality that as much as we're trying to fight and stand up against hate and Islamophobia, we have witnessed especially during the month of Ramadan, spreading, almost like fire incidents of Islamophobia,” Samer Majzoub, president of the Canadian Muslim Forum, told The National.

The Muslim community has increasingly become the target of prejudice during Ramadan.

“Muslims are more visible, Muslims are going to the mosque more often to pray, Muslims are congregating in one place and so people who harbour nefarious intentions towards the Muslim communities tend to see this as a perfect opportunity to try to harm us,” Stephen Brown, chief executive of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, told The National.

Canada has seen a rise in violence against Muslims in recent years, punctuated by the Quebec City mosque shooting of 2017, when a man entered the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City and killed six worshippers and injured five others.

Source: TheNationalNews

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US national security advisor speaks with Saudi crown prince




US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke by phone Tuesday, according to a statement by the White House.

Sullivan and the crown prince discussed a number of global and regional matters including the ongoing diplomacy related to the war in Yemen, said the statement.

Thanks to a UN-mediated truce, the fighting in Yemen has almost ceased, said Sullivan, describing it as remarkable progress.

Sullivan also welcomed Saudi Arabia's efforts to follow a more detailed roadmap for ending the war and ensured full support for these efforts, noting that US Special Envoy Tim Lenderking will be in the region over the coming days.

"Mr. Sullivan and Crown Prince Salman also discussed broader trends toward de-escalation in the region while underscoring the need to maintain deterrence against threats from Iran and elsewhere," added the statement.

Sullivan also reaffirmed President Joe Biden’s unwavering commitment to ensure Iran can never acquire a nuclear weapon.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Muslim group CAIR received 5,156 complaints in 2022, a 23% drop: Report




The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released a report Tuesday covering nationwide incidents of civil rights complaints by Muslim Americans in 2022 which revealed a 23% decrease.

Last year, the Muslim advocacy group received 5,156 complaints nationwide.

"This is a 23 percent decrease in total complaints since the 6,720 complaints CAIR received in 2021," said the report, titled "Progress in the Shadow of Prejudice.”

CAIR noted that it is also the first recorded decline since they started tracking such data in 1995.

The complaints involved various forms of discrimination as well as incidents related to law enforcement, education and sports.

They included airline discrimination, banking discrimination, bullying, denial of service, education discrimination, employment discrimination, FBI interrogation, hate crimes and law enforcement encounters.

The report also noted that complaints about law enforcement and government overreach dropped by 38%. At the same time, complaints about school incidents increased by 63%.

According to CAIR National Deputy Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell, the data reveals both progress and "significant challenges" in the fight against anti-Muslim bigotry and discrimination.

"The massive 63% rise in school related-complaints and persistently high reports of employment discrimination, bias incidents and government abuses are deeply concerning," he said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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South Asia


Muttaqi Urges International Community to Recognize Positive Uplift in Afghanistan

By Fidel Rahmati

April 12, 2023

The acting Foreign Minister of Afghanistan, Mawlavi Amir Muttaqi, met with the Japanese envoy to Afghanistan Takashi Okada on Wednesday and discussed bilateral relations and the current political situation in the country.

According to the Ministry’s statement, Japanese envoys reportedly indicated their country’s desire to develop relationships with the present de facto rulers.

The Ministry quoted the Japanese envoy as saying, “Despite differing views, this country is in favour of interaction with the authorities of Afghanistan.”

Muttaqi praised the state of affairs in Afghanistan and asked the region and the international community to acknowledge the positive developments that are taking place in the country.

However, the latest ban on Afghan women aid workers by the Taliban authorities received massive condemnation from the UN and the international communities.

The UN called the ban unlawful under international law, including the Charter and reiterated that the UN could not comply with it, said a statement.

The UN also said it might suspend its activities in Afghanistan due to the ban on female aid workers.

Source: Khaama Press

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Afghan Authorities Respond to UN’s Decision to Suspend Activities in Afghanistan

By Fidel Rahmati

April 12, 2023

The de facto government on Wednesday responded to the United Nations’ decision to suspend activities in Afghanistan due to the ban on female aid workers, saying they did not want to create obstacles for the UN; instead wanted to “make it clear that this is an internal issue of Afghanistan.”

On Wednesday, a statement issued by the Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid on the recent announcement of the UN office said that due to the imposed restrictions on women aid workers, the UN has to suspend its activities and has called the Afghan authorities responsible for all the consequences of the humanitarian situation.

The statement said the Interim regime “does not want to create an obstacle for the United Nations; rather, it wants to clarify that this is an internal issue of Afghanistan, which does not create a problem for anyone and should be respected by all sides.”

The Taliban authorities severely restricted the participation of women and girls in most areas of public and daily life in Afghanistan the day before, according to the United Nations office in Afghanistan.

In addition, the UN declared the prohibition against international law, including the Charter, so that it couldn’t be enforced, according to the statement.

The group emphasized that the ban on female assistance workers obliged it, in the face of a terrible humanitarian situation in the nation, to make an “appalling” decision.

Since the return of the Taliban, several restrictions have been imposed on women, which has been called suppressive for Afghan women; by which females cannot present in public spaces, gyms, universities, schooling beyond the sixth grade and work with the international community, including UN offices.

The Taliban authorities called their ban on religious and cultural interests rather than restrictions on women’s rights.

In addition, the de facto government claimed that the future responsibility due to the humanitarian crisis goes to those that have imposed restrictions on Afghanistan’s financial and banking system and travel bans on the “Taliban leaders”, the statement said.

Source: Khaama Press

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Delhi school for Afghan kids is Taliban casualty, Govt steps in to shift students

by Divya Goyal

April 13, 2023

Twenty months after the power shift in Kabul, a school for Afghan children in faraway Delhi stares at uncertainty, and possible closure, with the Taliban regime, opposed to education of girls and young women, withdrawing all support and recognition.

The Ministry of External Affairs has stepped in to help nearly 300 students of the Sayed Jamaluddin Afghan High School, running from a rented building in Bhogal in Delhi, by asking them to shift to “other Indian schools” given that the Afghan education board no longer grants recognition to the school or its students.

The Indian Express has learnt that teachers at the school have been asked to vacate the rented building by the end of May and told that the students must enrol in schools recognised by Indian school boards.

The Afghan school, which has students from classes 1 to 12, uses Dari and Pashto as the teaching medium. It is a unique space for Afghan children in the heart of Delhi, especially girls.

Started in 1994 as an educational centre for children of Afghan refugees in India, it became a primary school in 2008 and a high school in 2017. It was then that the Ashraf Ghani government, on a request from the refugees in India, began funding the school and granted it recognition.

All that changed when Kabul fell to the Taliban on August 15, 2021. When the funding from Afghan government stopped, the MEA helped the school financially and saved it from closure. But now that the school is no longer recognised by those in control of Afghanistan – India does not recognise the Taliban government – the MEA plans to shift the students to schools run by Indian boards.

While MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi declined to comment on the matter, another official of the Ministry said, “Since the school is not recognised, we are considering shifting students to schools where they can get recognised certificates from CBSE etc. This is in the larger and long-term interest of the students. There is no point in continuing with a school which is no longer recognised by the authorities in Afghanistan. We will provide financial support to needy students and help them in shifting.”

Reached for comment, Sayed Ziaullah Hashimi, First Secretary at the Afghanistan embassy in Delhi and a member of the school board, said, “Before the Taliban, the school was recognised by the Afghan government which used to issue certificates for board classes. After the Taliban takeover, the Afghan embassy was issuing certificates not recognised by any board. The students are being shifted for their better future. We will try to arrange other jobs for the teachers who will be unemployed.”

A teacher told The Indian Express: “We were informed by Afghan embassy officials that we have to vacate the building by March 31. After we protested, they granted an extension until May-end. They told us that the MEA will no longer financially support our school and we have to close it. They said students will be transferred to Indian schools. They said the school is being closed as it does not have CBSE recognition and the building is not as per standards.”

At least 17 teachers will be unemployed if the school shuts down.

Despite challenges, of the 278 students, there are more girls (143) than boys (135) in the school. Seventeen students who passed out in 2022 had made it to universities, including 13 in Delhi University.

Earlier, the school had also setup ‘Gandhi-Badshah Khan Educational Society’, named after Mahatma Gandhi and Abdul Ghaffar Khan, and was planning to apply for CBSE affiliation. Asked why the school cannot be given CBSE affiliation, MEA official said: “They won’t be able to fulfil stringent CBSE norms.”

Most students are worried about shifting to Indian schools because there are multiple issues such as the language barrier, syllabus change, board exam preparations.

Source: Indian Express

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Taliban aim to boost anti-aircraft capacity to counter 'Pakistan threat'

April 12, 2023

Defence has received the largest share of funds in Afghanistan's budget as the Taliban government aims to boost forces by a third and build anti-aircraft missile capacity, the army chief told Reuters in a rare interview to foreign media.

The defence ambitions of the Taliban, which took over in 2021, come in the face of strong international criticism of its policies, such as restrictions on work and education for women, that have hampered steps towards diplomatic recognition.

In his remarks on Tuesday, Qari Fasihuddin Fitrat, a Taliban commander from the northern region of Badakhshan and the chief of army staff, condemned incursions by foreign drones into Afghan airspace.

Defence forces now numbering 150,000 are targeted to be increased by 50,000, he said, speaking in his office in the highly fortified defence ministry in Kabul, the capital, although he did not reveal the precise figure of the funds.

"The ministry of defence is the top-ranked in the budget," he said, adding that it received a significantly higher sum than other ministries, as it was a priority in the budget, which is largely funded by boosted tax and customs revenue.

Since their takeover, the Taliban have spent 1-1/2 years building a civilian administration and a national military out of an insurgent force that fought a 20-year war against foreign forces and the previous US-backed Afghan government.

No foreign nation has formally recognised the government, which is battling economic headwinds following sanctions on the banking sector and the cutoff of all development aid.

Fitrat said a major defence focus was securing Afghan airspace against drones and other incursions.

"Anti-aircraft missiles are the need of countries," he said, adding that all nations sought developed weapons to ensure the integrity of their territory and airspace, a problem Afghanistan also faced.

"There is no doubt that Afghanistan is trying, and doing its best, to have it."

But Fitrat declined to elaborate on where authorities were looking to procure anti-aircraft missiles from.

'Neighbouring countries should not let our patience be exhausted'

He also stopped short of naming Pakistan, against which the Taliban administration has regularly protested, accusing its neighbour of allowing drones to enter Afghanistan.

"We are doing our best to find a solution for protection of our airspace. We will work on it by using all our capability," Fitrat added.

"From where we will obtain it is confidential, but we should have it."

Pakistan's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Pakistan officials have not confirmed whether its airspace is used for drone access to Afghanistan.

"We have always tried, and will try, to solve the issue using diplomatic ways, and we have done our best to be patient regarding these cases," Fitrat said, but sounded a note of caution.

"Neighbouring countries should not let our patience be exhausted."

Ties between the neighbours have occasionally been tense as Pakistan has accused the Taliban administration of allowing Afghan territory to be used as a haven for militant groups.

Among these is Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which has stepped up attacks in Pakistan in recent months.

The Taliban administration denies allowing its territory to be used for attacks on others, however.

There have been border clashes between the forces of both, and analysts say that in the event of conflict escalating, Pakistan's airforce would give it a strong edge.

Fitrat said former security personnel, who form a significant share of Afghanistan's forces, were being paid and treated in the same way as Taliban fighters.

The comments follow concern voiced by international rights groups and the United Nations that some former members of Afghan security forces members were targeted or killed.

Source:Tribune Pakistan

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Traffic Accident Kills 3, Injures 6 in Afghanistan’s Bamyan Province

By Fidel Rahmati

April 12, 2023

At least three people were killed, and six others were injured in a traffic accident in the central province of Afghanistan, Bamyan, Tappa-e-Almas road, local sources said on Wednesday.

According to the sources, the incident occurred while the Taliban police vehicle skidded off the road, killing three Taliban personnel and injuring six others.

SaboorSaighani, the provincial spokesperson, said that the high speed was the main reason for the incident, which deviated the vehicle from the road.

The official also said the injured were taken to the hospital for medical treatment.

Since last Wednesday, Afghanistan has experienced five road accidents. There were already six additional fatalities and fifteen injuries in separate traffic accidents.

According to reports, there are a lot of road accidents in Afghanistan that claimed the lives of numerous people, usually on highways.

Experts have attributed the excessive frequency of traffic incidents to a lack of traffic rules, damaged roadways, and negligent driving.

Source: Khaama Press

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Uzbekistan to Host Meeting of Special Envoys of Afghanistan’s Neighbors on Thursday

By Fidel Rahmati

April 12, 2023

The Special envoys from the Seven countries neighbouring Afghanistan, including Russia, are expected to attend a meeting in Samarkand on Thursday.

The Fourth Meeting of the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan will be held in Uzbekistan, Samarkand City, on Thursday.

The special envoys from the neighbouring countries, including Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, will come together in Samarkand City to discuss ways of evolving a regional strategy for dealing with Afghanistan’s current situation.

According to a statement by Chinese officials, Foreign Minister Qin Gang will lead the Chinese delegation for the fourth foreign ministers’ meeting of neighbouring countries of Afghanistan.

On the other hand, the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Hina Rabbani Khar, will lead the Pakistani delegation in the meeting, a statement said on Wednesday.

On March 31, 2022, the third regional conference was held in the Chinese city of Tunxi.

Source: Khaama Press

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Bangladeshi opposition dismisses PM’s ‘laughable’ claims of US meddling in nation’s democracy


April 12, 2023

DHAKA: Opposition politicians in Bangladesh on Wednesday dismissed suggestions by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina that the US is seeking to undermine democracy in the country ahead of its next general election.

In an address to parliament on Monday, Hasina, leader of the ruling Awami League party, said that Washington is “trying to eliminate democracy” in Bangladesh and “can overthrow the government of any country.”

He also labeled the leading national daily newspaper, Prothom Alo, an “enemy of the people.”

The country’s largest opposition party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, described Hasina’s comments as “laughable.”

“While the US has its own challenges of democracy, no one can accuse the US of attempting to ‘eliminate democracy,’” Barrister Nawshad Zamir, the party’s international affairs secretary, told Arab News on Wednesday.

Zamir said there was no reason to be concerned about foreign interference in Bangladesh’s elections, which are expected to take place in December or January.

“The concerns (about Bangladesh) expressed by various international human rights organizations are nothing new,” he added. “The more the world becomes global, each country and regime will attract more international scrutiny.”

Hasina’s strong remarks came hours before Bangladeshi Foreign Minister A. K. Abdul Momen held talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington, during which the latter “expressed concerns about violence against, and intimidation of, the media and civil society” in Bangladesh.

During the meeting, Blinken “underscored that free and fair elections and respect for human rights in Bangladesh are critical” as the two countries seek to enhance relations, the US embassy in Bangladesh said on Wednesday.

The Bangladeshi Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Momen had reaffirmed to Blinken his government’s commitment to free and fair elections.

Hasina’s comments were likely “an expression of frustration about recent US statements and positions, particularly on the election issue,” Humayun Kabir, a former Bangladeshi ambassador to the US, told Arab News.

Concerns about whether elections in Bangladesh will be free and fair have been raised not only by the US in recent months, but also the EU and Japan.

However, Kabir said the South Asian country “should not be overly concerned” with statements from Washington or other countries. Issues related to freedom of the media and human rights, he said, are “issues that we need to be careful about and we need to cultivate.”

Source: Arab News

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Southeast Asia


PAAB lights up Ramadan and Syawal for two orphanages

12-04- 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: PengurusanAset Air Berhad (PAAB), a wholly owned company of the Minister of Finance Inc, today distributed contributions totalling RM20,000 to brighten up Ramadan and Syawal for residents of two orphanages.

Acting chief executive officer of PAAB Zulkiflee Omar said the CSR programme under PAAB Prihatin initiative was channelled to the Asnaf An-Naafi Welfare Organisation Kuala Lumpur and Telaga Kasih Nur Muhammad Care Centre involving 71 orphans.

He said the donations included cheques amounting to RM3,000 for each organisation, shopping vouchers of RM150 per person, iftar packs and duitraya worth RM50 per person.

“PAAB hopes that with this contribution, it can help the organisation and the centre to overcome challenges in the month of Ramadan and lighten their burden to prepare and buy supplies for the month of Syawal soon.

“Hopefully this small effort of PAAB can bring joy and smile to 71 orphans ahead of Aidilfitri,” he said during the handing over of the donation here.

Zulkiflee said PAAB also organised the Shop & Share campaign that encouraged each of its employees to donate one of their grocery items to the orphans.

He said among items that were collected were personal care items, sanitary napkins, kitchen essentials, drink packs and used clothing with an estimated value of over RM5,000.

Meanwhile, the founder of Asnaf An-Naafi Kuala Lumpur Welfare Organisation, Aishah Mohamed expressed her gratitude for the contribution, much so following the charity’s loss of funds after falling victim to scammers who falsified their bank account information.

Source: TheSunDaily

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Islam wasathiyah vital for national unity: minister

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD has emphasized the importance of following the Islamic teachings of moderation (wasathiyah) to maintain the unity and integrity of the nation.

Islam wasathiyah teach people to have a balanced relationship (tawazul), tolerance (tasamuh) for diversity and acknowledge it as a blessing, as well as wish to always live in harmony and peace (islah), he said, according to a statement received on Wednesday.

"Creating moderate Muslims is exactly the same as implementing the essence of the philosophy of the state, Pancasila," he remarked at the Nuzulul Qur’an commemoration at At-Taufiq Mosque within the Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) School complex here on Tuesday evening.

Nuzulul Qur’an marks Prophet Muhammad’s first revelation, which is believed to have been conveyed to him on the 17th night of Ramadan which, this year, coincided with the evening of April 7.

According to Mahfud, the first president of Indonesia, Soekarno, also practiced the Islamic teachings of wasathiyah because they are in accordance with the Pancasila.

He further said that the teachings and practices of wasathiyah are one of the many lessons that can be learned from Al Qur'an.

The Muslims’ holy book contains many lessons, which can be used as guidelines for advancing Indonesia, he added.

"Al Qur'an is an extraordinary book. It is the greatest miracle that always brings admiration. There are many guidelines (in Al Qur’an), which we can adopt for developing Indonesia," he said.

He added that Soekarno’s slogan of “Never Forget History” — or popularly abbreviated as “Jas Merah” -- is also explained in Al Qur’an.

The coordinating minister then referred to a verse from the Al Qur’an, which states that people should learn from history to build a better future.


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Arab World


Syria’s foreign minister makes first visit to Saudi Arabia in over 10 years

12 April ,2023:

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad arrived in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah on Wednesday, on the first such trip since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

Mekdad, who traveled to the Kingdom at the invitation of Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, was welcomed by Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed bin Abdulkarim al-Khuraiji upon his arrival at King Abdulaziz Airport, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

During his visit, Mekdad will discuss Syria’s crisis including means to reach a political solution that preserves the country’s unity, security and stability.

Talks will also discuss facilitating the return of Syrian refugees and securing the delivery of humanitarian aid to affected people across Syria.

Over the past few months there has been increasing engagement with Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, who has been isolated since the start of the Syrian war in 2011.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Qatar and Bahrain to resume diplomatic ties

13 April ,2023

Qatar and Bahrain will resume their diplomatic ties, both Bahrain News Agency (BNA) and the Qatari foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

The move comes over two years after an Arab boycott of Qatar was lifted.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt in January 2021 ended a 3-1/2-year embargo of Qatar but all but Bahrain restored travel and trade links in 2021.

On Wednesday, the Bahraini-Qatari Follow-up Committee held its second meeting at the headquarters of the GCC General Secretariat in the Saudi capital where the decision was made, the two countries said in separate statements.

In January, Bahrain’s crown prince spoke with Qatar’s emir by telephone, in a sign the two Gulf states were moving towards repairing relations.

Source: Al Arabiya

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UAE’s Rashid Rover, first Arab region’s moon mission, sets landing date target

12 April ,2023

The UAE’s lunar rover is scheduled to land on the moon on April 25 at 8:40 p.m. (GMT +4), the Gulf state’s space agency announced on Wednesday.

The Rashid Rover, built by an Emirati team at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), has spent over four months in space since its launch in December 2022.

The rover is being transported by the HAKUTO-R Mission 1 Lunar Lander, which will perform multiple orbital control maneuvers to reach a 100 km circular orbit around the Moon, one hour before initiating the landing sequence, the state-run WAM news agency reported.

“During the landing sequence, the lander will perform a braking burn, firing its main propulsion system to decelerate from orbit. Utilizing a series of pre-set commands, the lander will adjust its altitude and reduce velocity to make a soft landing on the confirmed site of Atlas Crater in the Mare Frigoris,” the report said.

It is currently orbiting the Moon at an altitude of about 100 km at the perilune (periapsis - the points in the orbit that is closest to the center of the moon) and about 2,300 km at the apolune (apoapsis - the points in the orbit farthest to the center), according to the same report.

Alternate landing opportunities are set for April 26, May 1 and May 3.

The rover was sent to space from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida in SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.

Before the landing, the team will prepare by participating in 12 simulated rehearsals at the ground stations.

On the Moon’s surface, the rover will conduct scientific tests that is expected to contribute to qualitative developments in the fields of science, communication technologies, and robotics.

The primary goal of the mission is to study the Moon’s plasma and to provide answers about Moon dust, the lunar surface, mobility on the Moon’s surface, and how different surfaces interact with lunar particles.

Source: Al Arabiya

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France’s Macron confers highest national order on Sharjah ruler Sheikh Sultan

12 April ,2023:

The French presidency conferred the highest-ranking order upon the ruler of the UAE emirate of Sharjah, Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammed al-Qasimi on Tuesday.

The National Order of the Legion of Honor was conferred on behalf of French President Emmanuel Macron to the UAE leader by Nicolas Niemtchinow, the French ambassador to the UAE, state-run WAM news agency reported.

Created by Napolean Bonaparte, the order has been presented for two centuries on behalf of the French head of state to reward citizens and foreigners in all fields of activity.

The honor was given in recognition of Sheikh Sultan’s “scientific, cultural and literary contributions and his efforts to boost the relations between the two countries,” WAM reported.

The ceremony was held in al-Badee Palace and attended by attended by Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah; Sheikh Abdullah bin Salem bin Sultan Al Qasimi and Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Deputy Rulers of Sharjah.

The French embassy in the UAE also called the ruler a “true friend” of France in a statement on social media.

The UAE and France share strong bilateral ties. Last month, the UAE’s COP28 President-Designate Sultan al-Jaber met Macron in Paris to discuss climate policies.

In February 2023, Catherine Colonna, the French Minister for Europe and Foreign affairs met with UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Meanwhile, last year, UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan met Macron on a visit to Paris and a signed wide range of agreements on topics such as space, education and climate change.

During the visit the UAE and France also announced the launch of the UAE-France Business Council, which aims to strengthen the economic relations between the two countries in the fields of energy, transport and investment.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Eid Al Fitr expected to coincide with Friday, says Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs

Mariam Nihal

Apr 13, 2023

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs has announced that Eid is set to coincide with Friday, April 21.

All imams have been asked to perform the Friday prayer as usual, the ministry said.

Muslims traditionally go to the mosque to perform early morning Eid prayers but those who wish to stay on after can perform the Friday prayer then, the ministry advised.

"On an occasion where Eid coincides with a Friday, whoever is up all night then attends the Eid prayers is not obliged to attend the Friday prayer in the mosque," says Dr Zohair Ahmad, a UK national living in Jeddah.

"But it's better if he prays it with people on Friday. Another exception is that the call to prayer is not prescribed in mosques, where Friday prayers are held."

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development on Tuesday announced a four-day Eid Al Fitr holiday for private and non-profit sectors in the kingdom.

Eid break will begin from Friday, April 21, meaning residents can start their holiday at the end of the working day on Thursday.

Source: TheNationalNews

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Saudi Arabia, Syria prepare to start resuming consular services and flights

13 April ,2023

Saudi Arabia and Syria’s foreign ministers welcomed the beginning of procedures to resume consular services and flights between the two countries, the Saudi foreign ministry reported on Wednesday citing a joint statement.
Source: Al Arabiya

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Muslim will emerge if Igbos don’t produce next Senate President – Primate Ayodele

April 12, 2023

By Seun Opejobi

The leader of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, Primate Elijah Ayodele, on Wednesday, said the next Senate President should be Igbo.

Primate Ayodele revealed that if the next Senate President doesn’t come from the Igbo tribe, the position will likely fall into the hands of a Muslim.

In a statement signed by his spokesman, Oluwatosin Osho, the cleric said if a Muslim emerges as the next Senate President, the incoming government will be in jeopardy because there will be political tension in the country.

The man of God, who has been against the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the ruling party, reiterated his stand against the combination, making it known that God isn’t in support of it and that the country will still be thrown into crises as a result of the ‘ungodly’ combination.

He further advised Igbo lawmakers to come together to support one of their own to attain the position of Senate President because the zone will be sidelined for many years if they are unable to produce the next person that will occupy the position.

According to Ayodele: “In all fairness, the Igbos should produce the next Senate President; if not, a Muslim will emerge and jeopardise the incoming government’s activities. It will also cause political tension and imbalance in the government.

“Igbo lawmakers need to be united than ever before in order to push one of their own to become the next senate president because if they are unable to make it happen, the region will be sidelined in this incoming government.

“God doesn’t approve this Muslim-Muslim government, it will still create a lot in the country and will be the worse government so far.”

Also, in the House of Representatives, Primate Ayodele advised the opposition to form a coalition in order to defeat the ruling party in the Speakership race.

He explained that their unity would put the incoming government on its toes.

Source: DailyPost Nigeria

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Suspected extremist kills self in Moroccan prison

13 April ,2023

A suspected Moroccan extremist arrested in the killing of a police officer took his own life in prison on Wednesday, the kingdom’s prison authority said.

The man, suspected to be affiliated with ISIS, was among three arrested on March 15 over the killing of an officer whose charred body was found earlier that month near Casablanca.

The suspect died by suicide at the prison in Sale, near the capital Rabat, where he was taken on March 27, the prison authority said, adding that the relevant prosecutor and his family had been informed.

According to the initial findings of the investigation, the three suspects had pledged allegiance to ISIS and “were determined to take part in a terrorist plan” by killing a police officer, a statement from the DGSN security said at the time of their arrest.

The policeman’s burned and mutilated body was discovered on March 2 in a rural area of the Casablanca region.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Syria will reopen embassy in Tunisia after decade of ruptured ties

12 April ,2023

Syria will reopen its embassy in Tunisia after the North African country announced the appointment of a new ambassador to Damascus, Syrian state media reported Wednesday.

Tunisia has become the latest Arab state to reestablish diplomatic ties with Syria, after cutting off relations a decade ago.

The move by Tunisian President Kais Saied to appoint a new ambassador was immediately approved and reciprocated by the Syrian government, a joint statement from the two countries’ foreign ministries read, according to Syrian state news agency SANA.

The announcement is the latest step in a regional trend of rapprochement with the war-torn country, which has picked up pace since the deadly February 6 earthquake in Syria and Turkey and the Chinese-brokered reestablishment of ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Source: Al Arabiya

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UN Palestinian refugee agency urges West Bank workers to end strike

12 April ,2023

The United Nations Palestinian refugee agency on Wednesday called on the West Bank local staff union to end a strike, saying the stoppage was hindering access for hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees to basic services.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said the West Bank Area Staff Union (ASU) had issued threats and intimidated employees who were trying to work despite the strike. The head of the union denied the accusation.

“UNRWA calls on the ASU to end the strike and to stop intimidating those colleagues who are working to deliver services to the communities in line with the United Nations values,” it said in a statement.

“More than ever, we must strike the balance between the right to strike, the right to work and the right of Palestine refugees to access basic services.”

Jamal Abdallah, head of the union representing workers paid by the agency in the West Bank, contested the agency’s claim it was making threats, and pledged to continue striking until salary increase demands were met.

“We neither threatened nor forced anyone to go on strike and we didn’t close any headquarters or institutions,” he said.

UNRWA said that since West Bank local staff declared a strike in early March, many services to nearly 900,000 Palestine Refugees across the region had been suspended.

Established in 1949 following the first Arab-Israeli war, it provides public services including schools, primary healthcare and humanitarian aid in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

In January UNRWA appealed for $1.6 billion in funding after its head warned it was struggling to fulfil its mandate due to spiraling costs and shrinking resources.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Man extradited to Britain from Pakistan, charged over police murder

13 April ,2023

A man has been extradited from Pakistan to Britain and formally charged in connection with the 2005 murder of a British police constable, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said on Wednesday.

Sharon Beshenivsky, 38, died after being shot when trying to stop a gang robbing a travel agent in Bradford, northern England.

PiranDitta Khan, 74, was taken into custody after arriving in Britain and is set to appear in court on Thursday, the CPS said in a statement.

“Since PiranDitta Khan was arrested in Pakistan in 2020, our specialist prosecutors have been working closely with our Pakistani partners to complete the legal process in the country so that he could be extradited back to England to face the allegations from almost 20 years ago,” said Joanne Jakymec, chief crown prosecutor for the CPS.

The CPS first authorized charges against Khan in 2006, including murder, robbery, two counts of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and two counts of possession of a prohibited weapon. An extradition warrant was submitted in the same year.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Ex-RAF chief urges UK govt to give Afghan pilot sanctuary

April 12, 2023

LONDON: An Afghan pilot at the center of a deportation row in the UK must be granted asylum by the government, a former Royal Air Force chief in Afghanistan has told The Independent.

Air Marshal Edward Stringer, who is also former director of operations at the UK’s Ministry of Defence, backed a campaign by the newspaper encouraging the government to grant the pilot sanctuary.

The Afghan, who was praised by his US commander after serving alongside Western forces against the Taliban, served in dozens of combat missions.

In the wake of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in 2021, the pilot made the journey to Britain via Europe on a small boat. He has been threatened with deportation owing to the illegality of the journey.

Stringer, in an op-ed for The Independent, wrote: “Many of those in the Afghan forces served with distinction alongside us — and the Taliban will never forget that.

“We owe them all a debt of honor and should offer them asylum, and the security we promised them, in the UK — not least because we could not guarantee them safety and security in Afghanistan. Now is the time for us to demonstrate the decency on which we so pride ourselves.”

Stringer worked with NATO and Afghan forces as head of the 904 Expeditionary Air Wing in 2008.

He oversaw the training of a range of Afghan military personnel during the Western coalition’s conflict with the Taliban.

“The Taliban know as well as we do that we helped train the Afghan pilots (I remember vividly the start of that mission in Kandahar in 2008) and we should stand by those brave men — like the pilot you are campaigning for — now,” Stringer wrote.

“We must offer safe haven to the pilot who risked his life to fight alongside us. And we must be generous to all his comrades now, in their hour of need.”

Stringer is joined by a number of high-profile British military figures who have backed The Independent’s campaign in calling for the pilot to be offered sanctuary.

Former British Army chief Sir Richard Dannatt, former NATO chief Lord Robertson and former chief of joint operations Gen. Sir Richard Barrons have urged the granting of asylum for the pilot.

Stringer also criticized government measures aiming to safeguard at-risk Afghans, claiming that bureaucracy is leaving people behind.

“The limited numbers making it via the various schemes and safe routes, and the bureaucratic cock-ups along the way, suggest that the system is not as joined-up across government departments as it might be,” he wrote.

Source: Arab News

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Greece expects to discuss vital issues with Türkiye after elections in May

Ahmet Gencturk


Greece expects to discuss important issues with Türkiye following elections in both countries in May, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said late Wednesday.

Emphasizing that the current calm atmosphere in Turkish-Greek relations will not have an “expiration date,” Dendias told public broadcaster ERT that “after the elections, we will return to a serious discussion to resolve our differences.”

He warned that the discussions should start as soon as new governments are formed in both countries after the polls to take advantage of the current momentum.

Asked whether the discussions with Türkiye would be in the form of exploratory talks, Dendias said the previous 63 rounds of such talks did not yield the desired results, adding “if there is no convergence on the major matters, the solution cannot be provided by a different process in minor matters.”

On the possibility of seeking solutions to disputes between the two NATO allies through a multilateral conference, he stressed that it is very unlikely.

Dendias also said that a pro-Western oriented Türkiye is in the interest of every concerned side, including Greece.

In reference to the matter of the demarcation of the continental shelf and exclusive economic zones (EEZs) between Greece and Albania, he expressed hope for significant developments within this year.

Dendias said the Albanian government is preparing to sign the deal and submit it to the president for approval.

Greece was among the first countries to convey its condolences and offer aid on Feb. 6, when twin earthquakes struck 11 southern Turkish provinces.

Likewise, Türkiye was the first country to offer its condolences and aid following a Feb. 28 train accident in northern Greece that left at least 57 people dead.

After the accident, Türkiye allowed the transfer of a Greek prisoner to Greece to attend his son's funeral.

On March 20, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Dendias met in Brussels and agreed that Türkiye would support Greece’s campaign for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2025-2026 and Athens would support Ankara’s candidacy for secretary general of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Bulgaria reiterates support for Bosnia’s EU bid

Ahmet Gencturk


Bulgaria on Wednesday reiterated its support for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU bid and Euro-Atlantic integration, local media reported on Wednesday.

“Sofia and Sarajevo share common views on almost all matters of security and development in Southeastern Europe and with respect to bilateral relations,” Foreign Minister Nikolay Milkov said following his meeting with Bosnian counterpart ElmedinKonakovic in the Bulgarian capital, according to state-run BTA news agency.

“The two countries have no outstanding issues between them,” he said.

Bulgaria wishes to serve as an advocate for Bosnia and Herzegovina in the European Commission and the European Council, Milkov said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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