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Islamic World News ( 7 Jan 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Imran Khan Courting Radical Groups Like Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan to Hide Govt's Failure: International Think Tank

New Age Islam News Bureau

07 January 2022


(Representational Image)


• Lord Ram's Subsequent Incarnation Lord Krishna Enters Poll Scene Amid Mathura Mosque Row

• Terror Threat Teen Who Wanted To Attack Mosque And Kill 10,000 Given A Rehabilitation Order

• ‘Weak God' Comment By A Protestant Politician Causes Storm In Indonesia With Muslims And Catholics

• UAE: New Law For Non-Muslims Offers 'Modern Framework' To Settle Family Disputes, Says Expert



• Military confirms ending of TTP ceasefire, attacks on militants

• Sialkot lynching: New videos emerge of factory premises

• JI’s sit-in completes a week, party vows to further expand protests across Sindh

• Turkey, Pakistan to optimize military-to-military ties

• Two terrorists killed in South Waziristan IBOs: ISPR

• Three terrorists arrested in Karachi

• Two soldiers martyred, as many terrorists killed in KP clash



• Muslim Cleric Booked By Police For Hate Speech Hurting Christian Religious Sentiments On Social Media

• Karnataka: Govt College Students Sport Saffron Shawls To Protest Classmates Wearing Hijab

• Will Pray At Six Designated Sites, Areas With No Disruptions In Gurugram, Say Muslims

• 'Bulli Bai' Case: 2nd Year Engg Student from Assam Arrested for Creating App That 'Auctioned' Muslim Women Online

• No change since Uri attack, says India, junks Pakistan Saarc call

• Malvani ISIS case: NIA court convicts two operatives for brainwashing youths

• 3 JeM terrorists killed in overnight encounter in J&K's Budgam

• 2 LeT & JeM terrorists, 2 associates arrested for killing of Srinagar property dealer

• NIA files Chargesheet in al-Qaida module case



• France May Spread Islamophobia At Rotating Helm Of EU: Experts

• Russia sends troops to put down Kazakhstan uprising as fresh violence erupts

• Kazakhstan unrest: Dozens killed, about 2,000 arrested as protesters clash with police in Almaty

• Russia envoy to nuclear deal talks discusses developments with Saudi ambassador

• Mossad bombed European firms helping Pakistan nukes in ’80s: Swiss daily


Southeast Asia

• ‘Raja Bomoh’ Ritual Of Warding Off Floods Contradicts Islamic Teachings, Says Deputy Religious Affairs Minister

• Accept Gurudwara Food With Gratitude, Muslims Told

• Campaign in support of the Palestinians should be consistent

• Melaka Museums Corporation To Carry Out Repair Works On Historic Mosques Fast


Arab World

• Islamic State ramps up activities in eastern Syria

• End Hezbollah’s terrorist hegemony, Saudi envoy tells Lebanon’s politicians

• Arab Coalition pushes against Houthis in Yemen’s Marib and Shabwa

• Syrian envoy to UN says Western states fabricate lies on Syria’s cooperation with OPCW

• Arab coalition says 390 Houthis killed in strikes on Marib, Shabwa

• UAE keen to work with UN, Abu Dhabi crown prince tells Guterres


South Asia

• Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan Free 40 Inmates From Kandahar Prison

• IEA is concerned about unrest in Kazakhstan: Foreign Ministry

• Bangladesh Islami Front And Jamiat Ulema-E-Islam Met President, Md Abdul Hamid, On Formation Of A New Election Commission



• Iran Urges Complete Destruction of All Chemical Weapons

• Iran Hopes for Resolution of Problems in Kazakhstan through Dialogue

• Iranian statue of slain commander Soleimani torched

• Palestine: Israel responsible for killing of Palestinian civilians, settler crimes

• Capitol riot glimpse of what US has been trying to export for decades, says Iran Foreign Ministry

• IRGC Quds force cmdr.: US will leave Iraq with more humiliation than what it suffered in Afghanistan



• Jordan MPs Back Constitutional Reforms To Revitalize Politics

• Communications disrupted in Sudan ahead of anti-military protests

• Wife of detained Tunisian politician starts hunger strike

• Anti-military protests in Sudan continue, 3 protesters killed


North America

• US Judge Orders Mississippi City To Approve Mosque Construction

• US urges peaceful resolution to ongoing unrest in Kazakhstan

• Reparations for downed jet: Canada, other nations vow action against Iran

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Imran Khan Courting Radical Groups Like Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan to Hide Govt's Failure: International Think Tank


(Representational Image)


Jan 6, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan under Imran Khan's rule has slid into radicalization even as it struggles with a looming economic crisis and poor human rights record.

Imran Khan has frittered away his goodwill by mollycoddling extremist groups like Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), and the Afghan Taliban, according to international think tank based in Canada - International Forum for Rights and Security.

The former head of Pakistan's National Counter Terrorism Authority, Khawaja Khalid Farooq, recently wrote in an incisive article in News International that mob brutality, like the lynching of a Sri Lankan national in Punjab December last year, showed the extent of radicalization influencing Pak society.

Known for long as `Mr Taliban Khan', the Prime Minister supported the rise of the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan and hailed their military victory as an Islamic victory once they came to power. The victory cry was short-lived though, as he realized he had, like his predecessors, encouraged an extremist group, which would only further radicalization in his country and the region, according to International Forum for Rights and Security.

Further, one of the pitfalls of his Afghan victory was the deal he had to strike with TTP, a terrorist group brought up by the Pakistan army some years ago to play a devious game with the Taliban and the US.

However, the group turned staunchly against the army and the state and found shelter with the Taliban in Afghanistan, according to International Forum for Rights and Security.

A second `notable` deal he had with extremism was the way he allowed Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan TLP to run berserk on the streets of Pakistan.

Further, TLP is on a surge after the release of its leader Saad Hussin Rizvi last November and revoking of its ban by the Imran Khan government.

Further, extremist groups have always been an integral part of Pakistani society since Independence and their continued contribution to the thought process of the masses has greatly influenced the transformation of the nation, according to International Forum for Rights and Security.

Source: Times of India

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Lord Ram's Subsequent Incarnation Lord Krishna Enters Poll Scene Amid Mathura Mosque Row


(Representational Image) Shri Krishna Janamboomi


06th January 2022

LUCKNOW: Though the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya continues to dominate poll-eve politics in Uttar Pradesh, the deity's subsequent incarnation Lord Krishna too has made an entry in the political arena with the ruling party and the opposition repeatedly invoking him.

So far, God Krishna's torchbearers have been the current and a previous chief minister, a deputy CM, Deputy Speaker of the legislative assembly, a state cabinet minister and Mathura MP Hema Malini.

UP's Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya stirred the cauldron on December 1, making a remark that seemed to suggest that the ruling BJP is "preparing" for a grand temple in Mathura -- after the temple projects in Ayodhya and Varanasi.

In recent months, right-wing Hindu outfits have moved local courts seeking the installation of a Krishna idol in Aurangzeb-era Shahi Idgah mosque, which they claim is the "actual birthplace" of the deity.

The mosque is located close to the current Krishna temple in the "Janmasthan" complex in Mathura.

UP's Dairy Development, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary, who hails from Mathura, last month too appeared to indirectly lobby for a new temple or an expansion to the existing Mathura temple.

"If the Krishna temple is not built in Mathura, would it be built in Lahore," he said.

Krishna chants gained more currency when Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav invoked the deity.

On Monday, he claimed that the deity comes to him in his dreams every night, telling the opposition leader that he would form the government in the upcoming assembly polls and establish a "Ram Rajya" in UP.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath hit back on Tuesday.

In a veiled attack, he accused the SP president of not doing anything for Mathura and other religious places linked to Lord Krishna when he was the CM.

Instead, Adityanath termed the previous SP government 'worshippers of Kans", referring to the tyrant who was slain by Krishna.

He accused the previous government of creating a Kans that resulted in Mathura's Jawahar Bagh incident in which 29 people were killed in June 2016, when police tried to evict squatters who were backed by cult leader Ram Vriksh Yadav.

Addressing a public gathering in Aligarh, Adityanath said while he inaugurates a power project there, others dream in Lucknow.

"Lord Krishna would come in their dreams, and tell them to shed tears over their failures. The BJP government is doing the work that they haven't been able to do," he said.

In their dreams, Adityanath said, Lord Krishna must have told them that when they were in power, they "failed" to do anything for Mathura, Barsana, Vrindavan, Gokul and Baldev.

"Nobody bothered about Lord Krishna during that time. They were worshippers of Kans," he said.

UP Assembly's Deputy Speaker Nitin Agarwal also spoke on Mathura in Hardoi.

"The BJP won the 500-year-old battle of Ayodhya and a grand Ram temple is being built there. Kashi too has been put on the international arena, and Mathura is the place of Thakur ji (Lord Krishna). If the BJP government does not develop the temples of Mathura, then which government will do it?" he said.

On December 30, Adityanath invoked Krishna in Pilibhit, saying that his government is reviving the flute-making industry in the district.

"Work is going on to restore the flute, which Lord Krishna once played. Your flute was recognised almost 5,000 years ago by Lord Shri Krishna. But the previous governments had forgotten this," he said.

Ashutosh Varshney, convenor of Ram Seva Trust, Prayagraj, said it is only natural that Krishna is being mentioned now.

"Lord Ram is the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who appears in the Treta Yug. Lord Krishna is the subsequent incarnation, and he appeared in the Dwapar Yug. So, if the political narrative is moving from Lord Ram towards Lord Krishna, then it seems to be natural."

But former Congress Legislative Party leader Pradeep Mathur, who represented Mathura four times in the UP Assembly, accused the BJP of diverting attention from the real issues of development.

"Adityanath ji can be a follower of Lord Krishna, Akhilesh ji can be a follower of Lord Krishna. But it is the Brajvasi (residents of the Braj region), who have the right to Lord Krishna, and vice versa," he told PTI.

"The ongoing political allegations and counter-allegations are rubbish, and diversionary tactics to use Lord Krishna for political purposes," he said.

Source: New Indian Express

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Terror Threat Teen Who Wanted To Attack Mosque And Kill 10,000 Given A Rehabilitation Order


Bristol Magistrate's Court


Jan 7, 2022

A 17-year-old boy who wanted to "shoot up a mosque" and kill 10,000 people has been given a rehabilitation order.

The teenager, from Wiltshire, was given the 24-month order at Southampton Youth Court.

He had pleaded guilty to possessing material likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

Counter-terror police said they were having to deal with an increase in right-wing terror threats.

A spokesman for Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE) said "concerned" members of the public had reported the boy after he had made "numerous racist comments" in online forums.

"[He] had talked about wanting to kill Muslims by 'shooting up a mosque'," they added.

The teenager was arrested on 18 June and during a property search detectives uncovered a handwritten note called 'The Big Plan'.

"This contained details of how to make a bomb, a number of named locations and individuals who were believed to be aspirational targets, and an intention to kill in excess of 10,000 people," the spokesman added.

Detective Ch Supt Kath Barnes, head of CTPSE, praised the people who had contacted the anti-terrorism hotline to report the behaviour.

"I know this case may be concerning to certain members of the community who were the target of the atrocious hatred," she said.

"We have seen an increase in the proportion of our investigations from the threat from extreme right-wing terrorism who wish to cause harm in our communities.

"We take that threat very seriously and this is why the whole of the counter terrorism community, as well as the whole of society, has a role to play in tackling it."

Wiltshire Police's Asst Ch Const, Deb Smith, said: "I hope that our communities feel reassured that we acted swiftly, in conjunction with our partners, to ensure that this individual was detained and could no longer pose a risk to the wider public."

The 17-year-old was also ordered to pay a £22 court surcharge.

Source: BBC News

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‘Weak God' Comment By A Protestant Politician Causes Storm In Indonesia With Muslims And Catholics


(Photo: Screenshot from Ferdinand Hutahaean’s video posted on Twitter)


Katharina Reny Lestari

January 06, 2022

A Protestant politician in Indonesia has landed himself in hot water with Muslims and Catholics after allegedly calling God “weak.”

Ferdinand Hutahaean, a Democrat Party politician who failed to win a national assembly seat in national elections in 2019, came under fire after posting a tweet in what was seen as a dig at Muslims.

The tweet said: “Poor you, your God is evidently weak [and] must be defended. My God is amazing, [he] is everything. He is my defender, and my God does not need to be defended.”

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It prompted two complaints to be lodged with police on Jan. 5 accusing him of insulting Islam.

A hashtag #TangkapFerdinand (arrest Ferdinand) also went viral on social media.

Police spokesman Ahmad Ramadhan said Hutahaean would likely be summoned for questioning.

Hutahaean’s tweet, which has since been deleted, was also condemned by religious groups, including the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and the Union of Catholic University Students of the Republic of Indonesia (PMKRI).

MUI deputy chairman Anwar Abbas said in a statement, a copy of which was received by UCA News, that he truly lamented “such cynical comments.”

“The question is why do such words come from a person who some say truly respects diversity and does not want people insulting God or a certain religion in this country,” he said.

“It really hurts the feelings of the faithful, particularly Muslims.”

He called on Hutahaean to apologize.

PMKRI chairman Benediktus Papa said Hutahaean’s tweet did not portray the views of Christians and had the potential to destroy religious harmony.

Referring to the police investigation, he said he would back any action to show respect for pluralism.

Hutahaean said his tweet was taken out of context and he would take legal action against the two complainants “because they have defamed me.”

In a video posted on Twitter, he delivered an apology for the original tweet, saying it was “an imaginary dialogue between my heart and mind” and had nothing to do with a certain group or religion.

The tweet was the latest in a series of controversial posts on social media in Indonesia.

Joseph Suryadi, a 39-year-old Christian, was charged with blasphemy on Dec. 15 for allegedly insulting Islam by comparing the Prophet Muhammad with an alleged child rapist in a social media post.

In August last year, Indonesian police arrested a Christian YouTuber after a series of complaints were filed by Muslims accusing him of blasphemy.

Muhammad Kace, a former Muslim who converted to Christianity, was accused of insulting Islam and the Prophet Muhammad by claiming the prophet was “surrounded by devils and liars” in a video posted on YouTube.

Source: UCA News

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UAE: New Law For Non-Muslims Offers 'Modern Framework' To Settle Family Disputes, Says Expert


(Representational Image)


7 Jan 2022

By Sherouk Zakaria

In a significant step in the legislative map of Family Law in the UAE and the Gulf region, the Judicial Department of Abu Dhabi passed Law No. 14 of 2021 concerning personal status for non-Muslim foreigners last November as the first civil law concerning non-Muslim family matters.

Diana Hamade, Founder and Managing Partner at Diana Hamade Attorneys at Law, said "A legislative solution to be considered is the addition of the sophisticated legislative solutions that provide a modern judicial framework for foreigners in Abu Dhabi to resolve family disputes, to the existing Federal Personal status law as an addendum which deals with family matters of non-Muslims, especially where the current law provisions on marriage and divorce laws are guided through Islamic Sharia law."

"The addition of such a civil law can replace the process of applying a foreign law to non-Muslim expats cases, which are no doubt problematic for judges, counsels, and parties and not to mention expensive," said Hamade.

The Family Guidance department is removed as a first step in the process, and the divorce can be granted at the first hearing. It also introduces the concept of joint custody, equality between men and women in giving evidence, and inheritance.

Courts dedicated to non-Muslim family matters are opened and functioning at the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, in Arabic and English.

Reforms over the years

Although major reforms have been made to the UAE Federal Personal Status Law No. 28 of 2005 over the years, Hamade said further progress can be made to match the Civil Law of Abu Dhabi in adapting to the changing trends of society.

"The UAE legislature needs to address the legal provisions in relation to custody and visitation to meet the requirements of modern society where women now are mostly in full-time employment and the roles of custody and guardianship being separated is not serving the best interest of children nor parents."

She added that provisions on alimony would also need to be addressed to guarantee the stability sought by families and children.

"The fact that the UAE courts will be applying foreign laws, of foreign marriages, and foreign courts render children subject to the UAE law as their domicile, urges the UAE legislature to make the necessary amendments to the Federal Law No. 28/2005 to conform with the universally applied laws in these regards," noted Hamade.

The UAE Federal Personal Status Law saw major amendments pursuant to Federal Decree-Law No. 8/2019, Federal Decree-Law No. 5/2020 and Federal Decree Law No. 29/2020. Some of the key highlights included Article 71, which gave the right to a wife to leave her marital home without permission, and Article 72, reducing the instances where the right of a wife to monthly alimony is denied.

Hamade then noted that the most notable amendment was included in Federal Decree No. 33 of 2020 where Article 13 repealed Article 1 of Federal Law No. 28/2005 to determine that expats will have the law of the state where the marriage was contracted as the law applicable to the personal and financial affects resulting from the contract of marriage upon divorce or separation.

Article 1 of the Personal Status law No. 28 of 2005 provides that its provisions shall apply to UAE Nationals unless they are non-Muslims, and to expats who do not request the application of their law of marriage.

Other amendments, namely to Articles 118 and 120 of Federal Law No. 28/2005 on divorce for harm and the role of referees, remain complicated. "The repudiation, Talaq; an exclusive right of a Muslim man left unamended continues to disrupt the balance in a marriage and due process of court proceedings," noted Hamade.

Further amendments, she said, are needed to set off the UAE vision on women empowerment in regulations.

Source: Khaleej Times

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 Military confirms ending of TTP ceasefire, attacks on militants

January 6, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The military confirmed that a month-long cease-fire with the proscribed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella group comprised of several militant outfits, has come to an end and it has launched operations to eliminate the Afghanistan-based group.

Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar, who spoke to the press Wednesday, confirmed for the first time that peace talks with the TTP are “on hold” and military operations against the network are “ongoing.”

The two sides agreed on a cease-fire on November 9.

Several clashes between militants and security forces have been reported since December, mainly in the North Waziristan district, which borders Afghanistan.

The TTP numbers anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 fighters, according to a UN report.

In response to questions, Gen Iftikhar said the cease-fire was implemented at the “request” of the interim Taliban administration in Afghanistan as a confidence-building measure.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Sialkot lynching: New videos emerge of factory premises

January 6, 2022

SIALKOT: A new picture and clips have emerged of the premises of the Sialkot factory where Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara was lynched by a mob last month.

The picture purportedly shows Kumara, the manager of the factory, tearing down a sticker with two of the workers standing close to him.

The clips have been obtained from CCTV cameras installed at the factory.

One video shows Kumara trying to escape the angry mob on the rooftop of the factory. A worker can also been seen hiding on the roof. Another clip shows the frenzied mob attacking Priyantha Kumara on the rooftop.

In a third video, a person purportedly from the factory management is seen trying to prevent the workers from attacking the manager but they didn’t listen to him and continue beating Kumara as some of them incite the violence.

Surprisingly, CCTV footage of three locations are missing. Investigators believe that the person responsible for controlling the CCTV cameras might be hand in gloves with the suspects and discarded or concealed the footage.

Source: Pakistan Today

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JI’s sit-in completes a week, party vows to further expand protests across Sindh

January 6, 2022

JI Karachi’ protest against the Sindh LG (Amendment) Bill 2021 witnesses completion of a week on Thursday. The party is determined to expand its protests across Sindh.

JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman stated that the Sindh government has not devolved its powers to the local government.

“With the powers that are left, the mayor cannot even sweep the streets”, Rehman stated.

He further said that the provincial government had taken over the transport system, dispensaries, Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, Sobhraj Maternity Hospital, and solid waste management.

While referring to PPP’s allegations, he stated that “we are not an ethnic-based party, and we do not promote ethnicity […] your (PPP) style of politics is indulging in corruption, while we believe in engaging the people.”

The JI chief further revealed that the party has decided to expand its protest across the rest of Sindh as it attempts to pressurise PPP in rescinding the recently passed controversial local government bill.

The announcement was made by the JI Sindh chief Muhammad Husain Mehanti who spoke at the sit-in camp outside the Sindh Assembly on Wednesday when the protest entered its sixth day.

“The protest camps against the black bill will be set up in all cities and towns of the province on Friday and Sunday,” he said, adding that the campaign against the provincial government would continue till the “anti-people” law was repealed.

Rehman stated that the Karachi Development Authority (KDA) had been placed under the authority of the local government setup, but the PPP had taken it away. He alleged corruption in the development authorities and equated it to the exploitation of the people in Sindh.

“Those who accuse the JI of seeding hatred and ethnic-based politics need to know that the PPP and the MQM have not spared any slot for this nefarious type of politics in the political arena of Karachi,” he said.

Rehman also accused the PPP of making attempts to create a divide between the Sindhis and the Mohajirs.

He said JI MNA Akbar Chitrali had already submitted a resolution in the National Assembly for a separate chapter in the constitution for local bodies, and it would be a test case for all political parties, including PPP, MQM, and PTI, to respond to the resolution.

The JI leader said their struggle would continue till the law was repealed because a mayor without any monetary or administrative powers would not be able to deliver.

“The PPP has ruined all institutions in the province; 49,000 public sector schools have been destroyed in the province. From the chief minister to the bureaucracy in the province, not even a single individual would like to get their children admitted to the schools.”

He further stated that the JI had been staged protests for the people belonging to all areas of the country.

“Karachi is called mini-Pakistan because people from all ethnic backgrounds live in this city. The PPP should withdraw the law if it is serious and sincere about the megalopolis.”

While addressing the protesters, JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman said ministers belonging to the ruling PPP were issuing misleading statements to cover up their corruption in development authorities.

“PPP leaders Agha Siraj Durrani and Saeed Ghani should have come forward in the media to prove that the powers have been devolved to the local government setup,” the JI chief said.

Rehman said JI’s struggle was to resolve the problems of the people, and the PPP should not expect a friendly opposition from the JI — something it had enjoyed while dealing with the MQM.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Turkey, Pakistan to optimize military-to-military ties

January 6, 2022

RAWALPINDI: Deputy Chief of Turkish General Staff, General Selcuk Bayraktaroglu, called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa at GHQ here on Thursday, said Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in a statement on Thursday.

According to ISPR, matters of regional security situation, mutual and professional interest with special emphasis on defence and security collaboration between the two brotherly countries were discussed during the meeting.

The COAS said: “We highly value our brotherly relations with Turkey which are deeply rooted in history and entrenched in our cultural and religious affinities.

He underscored the importance of peace and reconciliation initiatives in Afghanistan, said the ISPR.

The army chief stressed upon the need for global convergence and sincere efforts to avert a looming humanitarian catastrophe.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Two terrorists killed in South Waziristan IBOs: ISPR

January 6, 2022

Security forces carried out an intelligence-based operation, and killed two terrorists in Tank, Dera Ismail Khan and village Kot Kili, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) revealed on Wednesday.

The security forces conducted the operation in South Waziristan on the reported presence of terrorists, the military’s media wing stated.

The security forces recovered weapons and a huge cache of ammunition from the terrorists’ hideout, including improvised explosive devices and rockets, the ISPR added.

During the exchange of fire, two terrorists got killed, three terrorists were apprehended, and one terrorist surrendered to the security forces.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Three terrorists arrested in Karachi

January 6, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Police in Karachi foiled a major terror bid and arrested three terrorists during an operation, officials said on Thursday.

The police conducted an operation by acting on an intelligence tip-off regarding the presence of terrorists in the Korangi neighbourhood, Korangi Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Shahjahan Khan said.

The terrorists were planning to target high-profile installations in the city, the official said, adding that the arrested men have been shifted to an unknown location for further investigation.

A search operation has also been launched in the area to look for any accomplices of the arrested terrorists.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Two soldiers martyred, as many terrorists killed in KP clash

January 6, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Two soldiers and two terrorists were killed in clashes between security forces and militants in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, an army statement said Wednesday night.

The troops conducted intelligence-based operations in Dera Ismail Khan and South Waziristan districts on the reported presence of terrorists, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in the statement.

“During intense exchange of fire, two terrorists got killed, three terrorists were apprehended and one terrorist surrendered to security forces,” the statement added.

Two soldiers also lost their lives while fighting the terrorists.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Muslim Cleric Booked By Police For Hate Speech Hurting Christian Religious Sentiments On Social Media

06th January 2022

KOTTAYAM (KERALA): Cyber crime wing of the Kerala Police on Thursday booked a Muslim cleric for allegedly making hate speech through social media hurting Christian religious sentiments, police said.

Waseem Al Hikami was booked for allegedly using derogatory remarks against Jesus Christ and Christian faithful through social media on the eve of Christmas celebrations last month, police said.

The case was registered by the Cyber Crime Police station, Kottayam, on the basis of a complaint filed by a person named Abel Francis, they said.

Source: New Indian Expess

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Karnataka: Govt College Students Sport Saffron Shawls To Protest Classmates Wearing Hijab

Jan 07, 2022

The management of a state-run degree college in Koppa is in a fix after a section of students came to the college wearing saffron scarves to protest against the Muslim women allegedly attending classes with hijab.

The Government Degree College (GDC) in Balagadi, which had reportedly given in to the demand of the students with saffron scarves initially, and asked women not to attend classes wearing hijab, has now decided to allow everyone to wear whatever they wish to till January 10.

“We are convening a parent-teachers meeting which will also be attended by public representatives on January 10 to resolve the issue. The decision would be binding on everyone,” principal Ananth Murthy said.

He said, three years ago a decision was taken in a similar meeting and everyone abided by it till now.

“Everything was going smoothly but yesterday a few students suddenly appeared in the class wearing scarves. They were objecting to the dress code of some other students,” Murthy added.

“Three years ago, a similar controversy had erupted in the college, and it was decided that no one should come to the college wearing hijab but for the past few days, some women are coming to the college wearing it. Hence, we decided to come to the college wearing saffron scarves from yesterday,” a student said, pleading anonymity.

He also claimed, that upon their request, the college administration had asked the Muslim women several times to not sport hijab while on the campus, but they did not budge. The student warned that if this issue was not addressed, they would intensify their agitation in the coming days.

The incident comes days after six students were denied entry into classes by the college authorities in the Udupi district for wearing hijab. On Saturday, the parents of these students along with activists held a protest against the authorities for not allowing the students inside the class for three days.

Source: Hindustan Times

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Will pray at six designated sites, areas with no disruptions in Gurugram, say Muslims

Jan 06, 2022

The Muslim community on Thursday said they will offer Friday prayers at the six designated sites and in open spaces where there were no disruptions last week by Hindu right-wing members, and also urged the district administration to deploy police personnel at these sites to ensure safety and security of those who gather to pray.

Last week Muslims offered Friday prayers in the open at Shankar Chowk, Udyog Vihar, Palam Vihar, and sectors 12, 29, 44, and 45. A group of Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti, an umbrella body of Hindu right-wing groups that is leading the protests against namaz in open spaces, gathered at Shankar Chowk before the namaz congregation assembled but were made to retreat by police teams deployed there.

Hindu groups have been protesting against Friday namaz in public spaces in Gurugram for the past three years. In 2018, the administration designated 37 sites for Muslims to pray on Fridays. However, last November, the number of sites was reduced to 20 after members of right-wing groups and locals started protesting against Friday prayers and disrupted namaz gatherings at several places. Muslim groups claim that they are forced to use public spaces as there are not enough mosques in the city -- there are only 13 mosques in Gurugram.

“We will, as usual, visit our designated spots to offer namaz and police will be responsible if any untoward incident happens at any of these spots,” said a senior member of Gurgaon Muslim Council, requesting anonymity.

Right-wing members said they will continue to protest against namaz in the open and will ensure no one is allowed to use any public place for Friday prayers.

Mahavir Bhardwaj, president of Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti, said, “The Gurugram Imam Sanghathan had agreed to not offer namaz in the open but Muslims are again using public spaces to offer namaz, leading to confrontations. We have already agreed to six places but they are again trying to encroach on parks and grounds which will not be tolerated. Last Friday, we did not do anything but this Friday, if Muslims offer namaz in any place other than the six designated sites, we will protest there,” he said.

Kulbhushan Bhardwaj, legal advisor of the samiti, said they are ready with teams and will keep a check on spots where Muslims offer namaz. “We will not allow them to offer prayers in the open and if they do, we will disrupt the proceedings,” he said.

Police said they have deployed a team of 50 personnel at each spot and will ensure law and order in the city.

Aman Yadav, assistant commissioner of police, said anyone caught disrupting namaz will be arrested on the spot. “No one will be allowed to visit any public place to create a ruckus. No right-wing group will be allowed to enter sites where Friday prayers will be offered,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Adeeb, a former Rajya Sabha member who is leading a 21-member committee to resolve the ongoing namaz issue, on Thursday said he was planning to approach Punjab and Haryana high court to quash the FIR filed against him and two others , registered on Wednesday on the basis of a complaint filed by a right-wing activist who has been involved in protests against namaz on public land.

Source: Hindustan Times

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'Bulli Bai' Case: 2nd Year Engg Student from Assam Arrested for Creating App That 'Auctioned' Muslim Women Online

JANUARY 06, 2022

The main conspirator and creator of ‘Bulli Bai’ app was arrested from Assam on Thursday. Police said that the accused has been identified as Niraj Bishnoi, a second year B.Tech CSE from Vellore Institute of Technology in Bhopal. He is resident of Digambar Jorhat in Assam, an official said.

Sources in the police said that he also created the main Twitter account of ‘Bulli Bai’. He was arrested by the IFSO (Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations unit), special cell, Delhi police. Bishnoi is being brought from Assam and will reach the national capital by 3:30 pm.

This is the fourth arrest in connection with the ‘Bulli Bai’ app which targeted Muslim women by putting up their images online for ‘auction’. Earlier, police arrested 18-year-old woman Shweta Singh from Uttarakhand.

Singh, who has passed class 12 exam and was planning to pursue engineering, was acting on the instructions from one ‘Giyou’ who was based in Nepal, he claimed. Mumbai police commissioner Hemant Nagrale told reporters that some more people were likely to be involved in the matter.

Mayank Rawal (21) was nabbed from Uttarakhand in the early hours of Wednesday in the case. Shweta Singh was arrested on Tuesday from Rudrapur in the same state, while engineering student Vishal Kumar Jha (21) was held from Bengaluru on Monday.

Mumbai Police registered a First Information Report after receiving a complaint about the app on January 2, following which investigators started technical analysis of the app and the related twitter handle, Nagrale said.

Source: News18

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No change since Uri attack, says India, junks Pakistan Saarc call

Jan 7, 2022

NEW DELHI: India on Thursday brushed aside Pakistan's call for resuming the Saarc summit process saying there had been no "material change" in the situation since the summit was blocked in 2016 because of the Uri terror attack. The government also slammed Islamabad for supporting cross-border terrorism.

"We have seen media reports regarding the Pakistani foreign minister's remarks about Saarc Summit. You are aware of the background as to why the Saarc Summit has not been held since 2014. There has been no material change in the situation. Therefore, there is still no consensus that would permit the holding of the Summit," MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.

The official was responding to queries on Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi's reiteration of the invite for the 19th Saarc summit. Qureshi had called upon India to participate virtually if it didn't want to attend the summit in Islamabad.

Asked about Pakistan PM Imran Khan's remarks earlier this week on the so-called Kashmir self-determination day, the official said these comments had come from the leader of a country that was openly promoting cross-border terrorism.

"The Union Territory of J&K is an integral part of India. Pakistan is also the country which shielded Osama bin Laden. It's record on human rights is known to the entire world," said the official.

Source: Times of India

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Malvani ISIS case: NIA court convicts two operatives for brainwashing youths

6 JANUARY 2022

New Delhi, Jan 6: A special NIA court in Mumbai convicted two ISIS operatives, Rizwan Ahmed and Mohsin Ibrahim Sayyed, for trying to radicalise Muslim youths to join the Islamic State (IS).

The accused instigated Muslim youths to travel abroad to become members of IS/ISIL/ISIS in order to wage war against allied nations of India, the NIA said in a statement.

In 2015, a case in this respect was lodged with Mumbai’s Kalachowki Police Station. Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) was looking into the matter. Later on the case was handed over to the NIA, which re-registered the case.

After completing the investigation, the NIA had filed a charge sheet in July 2016.

The NIA’s investigation has revealed that Rizwan Ahmed and Mohsin Ibrahim Sayyed had instigated, intimidated and influenced vulnerable Muslim youths from the Malwani area, Malad (W), Mumbai to join the terror outfit.

“Both the accused also compelled the youths to become fidayeen fighters for the cause of Islam, and were instrumental in sending them for ‘hijarat’ for joining ISIS,” the probe agency said.

The NIA collected a lot of evidence against them and recorded the testimonies of the witnesses, which was against the accused. The agency collected documentary and digital evidence against the accused to prove their case before the court.

During the trial the accused had pleaded not guilty. The NIA argued on the matter on the basis of the evidence collected by them. With the help of their evidence, the NIA was able to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt before the court.

Source: Morning Kashmir

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3 JeM terrorists killed in overnight encounter in J&K's Budgam

Jan 7, 2022

SRINAGAR: Three Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists were killed in an overnight encounter with security forces in Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir, police said on Friday.

The encounter broke out in Budgam's Zolwa village late on Thursday, a police official said.

Three terrorists were killed in the exchange of fire with the security forces, the official said.

"All three slain terrorists were affiliated with JeM terror outfit. Three AK 56 rifles and other incriminating material were recovered from the site of the encounter," said Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar.

While one of the terrorists has been identified as Waseem from Srinagar, the identities of the other two are being ascertained, he said.

Source: Times of India

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2 LeT & JeM terrorists, 2 associates arrested for killing of Srinagar property dealer

M Saleem Pandit

Jan 7, 2022

SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir claimed on Thursday that it had busted a module involved in the killing of a property dealer in Srinagar by arresting two militants, of the LeT and JeM, and two of their associates.

"On 22/12/2021 militants targeted and killed a property dealer, Rauf Ahmed, in Safakadal area. After the incident the Srinagar police started investigating this killing. During the course of the investigation the movement of some suspects was detected in Srinagar city," a police statement said.

"Based on further analysis and credible human intelligencewp, the Srinagar police detected suspicious movement of militants in Bhagat Barzulla area and, along with the CRPF, laid special nakas and apprehended two militants of the banned militant organisation TRF/MGH, offshoots of LeT and JeM, near Barzulla Bridge," the statement read.

Identifying the arrested militants as Suhail Qadir Khanday of Tral Pulwama and Suhail Mushtaq Waza, resident of Nikloora in Pulwama, both active, the spokesperson said two pistols, two pistol magazines and 30 pistol bullets were initially recovered from the spot.

"On further questioning of the militants, incriminating material, arms and ammunition — including 2 pistols, 6 pistol magazines, 69 rounds, and two pistol silencers have been recovered from their hideout in Srinagar city. So far, four pistols, eight pistol magazines, 99 live rounds and two pistol silencers have been recovered in the case," the statement read.

"They identified two associates — Basit Bilal Makaya , a resident of Qamar Abad Qamarwari, and Naikoo Imad Nasar, resident of Kiloora Shopian — who were operating with them as OGWs," the police spokesperson said.

A case under FIR No. 08/2021 has been registered at Saddar Police Station under sections of the Arms Act and UAPA Act, the spokesperson said.

The police spokesperson added that "during questioning the arrested militants disclosed that they were operating in Srinagar city on the directions of one person, Asif Maqbool Dar, resident of MIG Colony Bemina, at present in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, and Sajjad Gul, resident of HMT Parimpora, at present in Pakistan".

"… the handlers from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan were providing weapons and money through a network of OGWs (that are) being identified. This module has also done a recce of security installations like the NIA office, Delhi police headquarters, etc., and shared the same with their handlers in Pakistan," the spokesperson said.

"As per the investigation the targets in the city for killings were also selected and conveyed to them by Dr Asif Dar and Sajjad Gul. Suhail Qadar Khandy was working in Saudi Arabia with Dr Asif Dar and, in August 2021, on the direction of Dr Dar, he came back and started working as an operative of TRF/MGH for coordinating the collection of arms and ammunition, money and militant attacks in Srinagar," the statement read.

Source: Times of India

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NIA files chargesheet in al-Qaida module case

Pathikrit Chakraborty

Jan 7, 2022

LUCKNOW: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has filed a charge sheet against five arrested accused of conspiring to carry out an IED blast in Uttar Pradesh. The agency also stated in the charge sheet that five arrested accused, Minhaj Ahmad, Museeruddin, Shakeel, Moid, and Mustaqeem, were in touch with terror outfit Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGuH), an auxiliary unit of al-Qaida.

All the five accused have been booked under the charges of waging war against the government of India, concealing with intent to facilitate design to wage war and other charges including punishment for raising funds for a terrorist act, punishment for recruiting persons for a terrorist act, punishment for being a member of a terrorist gang, membership of a terrorist organisation under the unlawful activities (prevention) Act, 1967. The charge sheet was filed in the special NIA court in Lucknow.

NIA in its charge sheet has stated that accused Minhaj Ahmad was radicalized online by two al-Qaida terrorists based in Jammu and Kashmir and that he had entered into a conspiracy with them for recruiting members for AGuH and for committing terrorist acts.

Minhaj recruited Museeruddin into the al-Qaida fold and involved him in the conspiracy for committing terrorist acts in UP.

It also stated that Museeruddin and Minhaj Ahmad procured arms, ammunition, explosive material and conducted reconnaissance of vulnerable areas for carrying out blasts with an intention to wage war.

The other three accused, Shakeel, Mustaqeem and Moid, aided and abetted Minhaj and Museeruddin in procuring weapons and ammunition, thus becoming a party in furtherance of the conspiracy. NIA also said that the case was still under investigation.

This module was first busted by the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) with the arrest of two operatives, identified as Minhaz and Museeruddin, from Lucknow on July 11 and their three associates, Mustaquim, Moid and Shakeel, on July 14.

All the five were arrested from different places in Lucknow. ATS had also recovered explosives used for making the improvised explosive device (IED) in the form of a pressure cooker bomb from their possession. NIA had taken up the case on July 28 and registered a fresh case.

Source: Times of India

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France may spread Islamophobia at rotating helm of EU: Experts

JAN 05, 2022

France has assumed the rotating European Union presidency for the next six months, however, with the country's anti-radicalism bill having already created an uncomfortable climate for France's Muslims, experts worry Paris may attempt to impose its anti-Muslim views on the bloc as a whole.

“There are already examples where you can see the interference of the French government on a European level when it comes to the existence of Muslims and Muslim visibility,” Farid Hafez, a visiting professor of International Relations at Williams College and nonresident scholar at Georgetown University's Bridge Initiative told Daily Sabah.

Listing instances of the French government going against the European Commission, Hafez recalled that European Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli was attacked by French ministers for meeting with representatives from a Muslim youth organization that was participating in a campaign organized by the Council of Europe. He also pointed to the civil rights group Alliance Citoyenne, which actively defended Muslim women's rights but lost its funding.

“Therefore, I think, France will impose its views on Europe. The question is how much other European countries allow the French government to influence how Muslims are seen and positioned in the European Union.”

The French government announced earlier this year that it would step up checks of places of worship and associations suspected of spreading so-called extremist religious propaganda.

The crackdown came after the October 2020 murder of teacher Samuel Paty who was targeted following an online campaign against him for having shown controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo during a civics class.

Hafez highlighted that after Paty’s death, France and Austria in particular pushed for the EU to release a harsh statement framing the problem as rooted in Islam. Most EU countries pushed back, he said, explaining that therefore France's presidency may not directly increase Islamophobic views within the EU.

The attack came in the midst of a heated debate over Macron's campaign against what he called "Islamist separatism" in immigrant communities, where conservative Muslims are accused of rejecting secularism, free speech and other values taught in school.

“I see that France is one of the most problematic countries when it comes to Islamophobia in Europe,” Hafez said. “France has been one of the harshest governments in the legislation against Muslims, we not only see hijab bans but also after the murder of Paty, the French government used this incident to crack down on the Muslim civil society – raided mosques and even closed anti-racist organizations for nothing else but speaking against Islamophobia.”

According to Interior Ministry figures, since November 2019, 3,881 establishments have been inspected and 126 closed, mostly small businesses but also two schools.

The proposed law and the Cell to Fight Radical Islam program, led by prefects in each region, are just part of a many-layered operation to rout out what authorities call “enemies of the Republic.”

The Interior Ministry said in December that around 100 mosques and Muslim prayer halls out of France's total number of more than 2,600 have been investigated over recent months because of suspicion that they were spreading "separatist" ideology.

Six sites were being probed with a view to closing them down on the basis of French laws against extremism and separatism, it said.

France's Muslim population is estimated to number about 5 million people, many of whose family origins lie in Algeria or other parts of its former empire.

Speaking to Daily Sabah, Abdennour Toumi, North Africa expert at the Ankara-based Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies (ORSAM), said that the roots of the current anti-Islam atmosphere go back to “a rhetoric set by the far-right party of Ms. Marine Le Pen (RN), the corporatist media and the arrogant elite anti-Muslim in the Parisian chic quarters of the right and the left banks,” enhanced by the several terror attacks the country has suffered.

“Emmanuel Macron, whose Muslim views were more or less like his predecessor, are moderate, and I don’t believe he is anti-Islam. But his political survival and the imperatives of the post-Charlie Hebdo and Paris attacks, have shaped his policy on Islam. Thus, he wanted like President Nicolas Sarkozy to domesticate the Muslims in France,” he said.

Toumi does not believe that France will be successful in influencing the bloc’s policies on Islam and the Muslim community. However, he warns that the country’s interior minister is more hawkish and aims to eradicate so-called “radical” Islam.

“For the EU’s reaction on Islam, the issue is not homogenous for the 27 members, which currently, are facing other challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic variants and macro-economic questions.”

Speaking on the effects of France’s policies on the community, Toumi highlights that the minority group of millions is still protected by national and European laws.

“The question of 'radical' Islam has complicated the real fight of this thorny issue that needs deep logistic and educative tools to one day contain this national security issue that became political discourse. In the end of the day, Muslims in France are well integrated and the third generation of the Muslim immigrants, notably the Maghreb communities, feel fully French and patriots.”

He says that such policies “would destabilize further President Macron," who is on the cusp of a heated presidential election that will take place in the spring.

"La laicite has become the state's religion," Toumi added.

Macron was accused by leftist critics at the time of stigmatizing Europe's biggest Muslim community and pandering to the far-right ahead of the 2022 elections.

But on the right, voters and politicians have long been urging tougher action to restore the state's authority in what a group of teachers described in a 2015 book as the "lost territories of the Republic."

They include controversial media pundit Eric Zemmour, a possible candidate for the presidency in next year's vote, who has declared Paty's murder proof that France is in a "civil war" with radical Muslims.

Toumi said that Muslims represent around 1% of the French electoral corps – and its vote does not weigh seriously on national elections with those voting being generally the elder and not the youth.

Macron, who was elected in 2017 on a pledge to reform France and restore its status as a global power, is the overwhelming favorite to win the election but analysts caution his victory is far from certain.

“This election is going to be historical, and eventually a political big-bang in the French fifth Republic,” Toumi said, indicating that Macron's top challenger is Republican candidate Valerie Pecresse.

Pecresse campaigned on promises to halve the number of residence permits for non-EU migrants, stiffen judicial sentences in tough neighborhoods where police are under pressure and ban women accompanying their children on school trips from wearing a Muslim headscarf.

"I feel the anger of people who feel impotent in the face of violence and the rise of Islamist separatism, who feel their values and lifestyle are threatened by uncontrolled immigration," she said.

“It’s an opportunity for the Muslims to emerge as a serious actor in French politics and will create a new social and political imperative in the next elections.”

Toumi said that the Muslim community in France should unite and make their voice heard.

“Their voice could be a solid argument for the voiceless and will silence the anti-Muslim elite and politicians.”

Hafez said that France’s main concern is the future of French society and that Paris does not want self-organized Muslims who are proud of their religious identity to have a say in what France is and how it should look in the future.

“The Islamophobia question is a power question, It’s a question of the role of Muslims in France today and tomorrow.”

France last year engaged in a bitter feud with Muslim countries, including Turkey, over the statements and policies made by top French officials following the republication of offensive caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Muslims across the world denounced satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo's decision to republish cartoons that disrespect the religion and the prophet.

The Observatoire National de Lutte contre l’Islamophobie recorded 235 Islamophobic acts from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2020, a 53% increase from the previous year. According to a 886-page report titled the "European Islamophobia Report 2020" co-edited by Enes Bayraklı, an international relations professor at the Istanbul-based Turkish-German University, and Hafez, there was a 14% increase in acts and a 79% increase in threats.

"The year 2020 marks a turning point in Islamophobia and in the treatment of Muslims in France," the report said, adding that for some years now, the French government has been "misusing the concept of “laïcité” (French version of secularism) to make it a weapon to the disadvantage of French Muslims and Islam – leading to the socio-economic exclusion of many Muslims, and in particular Muslim women wearing headscarves."

Furthermore, Shada Islam in her article published in the Guardian also touched upon what she called “France’s Muslim-panic” and said that “Once restricted to the EU’s far-right groups, France’s fixation with Muslims has extended across the European political landscape; Islam is seen either as a threat to national secular traditions or to the idea of “Christian Europe.”

Turkey’s stance

Following France’s decision to pass the controversial anti-radicalism bill, Turkey stressed that the move would further marginalize Muslims and other religious minorities.

Turkey's communications director in July said that though France claims to champion the principles of freedom, equality and fraternity, it has increased interference in the way of life of religious minorities through the bill.

States bear great responsibilities in these times when attacks against Muslims in Europe are increasing, he said, adding that Turkey will continue to closely follow the developments concerning the bill.

Source: Daily Sabah

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Russia sends troops to put down Kazakhstan uprising as fresh violence erupts

Jan 7, 2022

ALMATY: Fresh violence erupted in Kazakhstan's main city of Almaty on Thursday as Russia sent in paratroopers to put down a countrywide uprising in one of Moscow's closest former Soviet allies.

Police in Almaty said they had killed dozens of rioters overnight into the early hours of Thursday morning. Authorities said at least 18 members of the security forces had died, including two found decapitated. More than 2,000 people were arrested.

After a night of running street confrontations between protesters and troops, a presidential residence in the city and its mayor's office were both ablaze, and burnt out cars littered the city, Reuters journalists said.

For more on this story, see: -What's going on in Kazakhstan? -Bitcoin power slumps as crackdown hits crypto -U.S. questions Russia-led peacekeepers

Military personnel regained control of the main airport, seized earlier by protesters. Thursday evening saw renewed battles in Almaty's main square, occupied alternately by troops and hundreds of protesters throughout much of the day.

Reuters reporters heard explosions and gunfire as military vehicles and scores of soldiers advanced, although the shooting stopped again after nightfall. TASS news agency quoted witnesses as saying people had been killed and wounded in the new gunfire.

The Russian deployment was a gamble by the Kremlin that rapid military force could secure its interests in the oil and uranium-producing Central Asian nation, by swiftly putting down the worst violence in Kazakhstan's 30 years of independence.

Oil production at Kazakhstan's top field Tengiz was reduced on Thursday, its operator Chevron said, as some contractors disrupted train lines in support of the protests. Oil prices rose more than 1% on Thursday and uranium has also jumped since the clashes erupted.

The internet was shut down across the country, disrupting bitcoin mining in one of the world's biggest crypto miners and making it impossible to gauge the extent of the unrest.

But the violence was unprecedented in a state ruled firmly since Soviet times by leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, 81, who had held on to the reins despite stepping down three years ago as president.


Nazarbayev's hand-picked successor, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, said he called in the Moscow-led military alliance of ex-Soviet states. He blamed the unrest on foreign-trained terrorists who he said had seized buildings and weapons.

"It is an attack on our citizens who are asking me... to help them urgently," he said.

Moscow said it would consult with Kazakhstan and allies on steps to support the Kazakh "counter-terrorist operation" and repeated Tokayev's assertion that the uprising was foreign-inspired. Neither Kazakhstan nor Russia provided evidence to support that.

Moscow did not disclose how many troops it was sending, and it was not possible to determine if any were involved in Thursday's unrest.

The general secretary of the ex-Soviet alliance - the Collective Security Treaty Organisation - told RIA news agency that the overall peacekeeping force would number about 2,500 and could be strengthened if necessary.

It was expected to be a short mission of "a few days or weeks", RIA quoted him as saying.

The United States said it was closely monitoring reports of the deployment and added it had questions about whether the forces were legitimately invited to the country.

"We have questions about that deployment precisely because Kazakhstan, the government of Kazakhstan... has its own resources, and the government is and has been well fortified," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.

"We will be watching very closely for any violations of human rights and any efforts or actions on the part of foreign forces to seize Kazakh institutions," he added.


The uprising, which began as protests against a New Year's Day fuel price hike, swelled on Wednesday, when protesters chanting slogans against Nazarbayev stormed and torched public buildings in Almaty and other cities.

Tokayev initially responded by dismissing his cabinet, reversing the fuel price rise and distancing himself from his predecessor, including by taking over a powerful security post Nazarbayev had retained. But those moves failed to mollify crowds who accuse Nazarbayev's family and allies of amassing vast wealth while the nation of 19 million remained poor.

Nazarbayev stepped aside from the presidency in 2019 as the last Soviet-era Communist Party boss still ruling a former Soviet state. But he and his family kept posts overseeing security forces and the political apparatus in Nur-Sultan, the purpose-built capital bearing his name. He has not been seen or heard from since the unrest began.

The swift arrival of Russian troops demonstrated the Kremlin's willingness to safeguard its influence in the ex-Soviet Union with force. Since late 2020, Moscow has shored up the leader of Belarus against a popular uprising, intervened to halt a war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, and, to the West's alarm, massed troops again near Ukraine, which Russia invaded eight years ago.

Source: Times of India

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Kazakhstan unrest: Dozens killed, about 2,000 arrested as protesters clash with police in Almaty

06 January 2022

Clashes between protesters and security forces have left dozens killed while about 2,000 have been arrested in Kazakhstan's biggest city, Almaty, as nationwide protests continue over fuel price hikes in the oil-rich Central Asian country.

Police spokesman Saltanat Azirbek said on Thursday that tens of rioters had been "eliminated" overnight in Kazakhstan's financial capital as they tried to storm government buildings.

"Last night, extremist forces tried to assault administrative buildings, the Almaty city police department, as well as local police commissariats. Dozens of assailants were eliminated," local media quoted him as saying.

Police in Kazakhstan's largest city Almaty said Thursday they had detained some 2,000 people in connection with ongoing mass unrest.

"Almaty police have moved forward to clear the streets... In total, about 2,000 people have been brought in," the Interior Ministry said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.

Protesters also stormed the mayor's office in the city, with videos on social media showing a plume of smoke rising from the building.

Almaty's police chief, Kanat Taimerdenov, blamed the unrest on "extremists and radicals," saying the protesters had assaulted 500 civilians and ransacked hundreds of businesses.

Meanwhile, there were reports of renewed clashes between riot police and hundreds of anti-government protesters who had gathered in the city's main square on Thursday morning. Several armored personnel carriers and dozens of troops entered the square, with gunshots being heard as troops approached the crowd.

There had also been intense clashes between security forces and protesters on Tuesday, with police firing tear gas and stun grenades to disperse crowds of thousands of people who had gathered in the city's main square, as protesters toppled, smashed, and set police cars alight.

Mass protests began in Kazakhstan's western Mangistau Province on Sunday after the government decided to lift price controls on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) — a move that roughly doubled gas prices in a matter of days. Protests then engulfed other parts of the country.

On Wednesday, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev declared a two-week state of emergency, including a curfew, movement restrictions, and a ban on mass gatherings, in Almaty and Mangistau.

Later in the day, he accepted the government's resignation and appointed Alikhan Smailov as acting prime minister. He also ordered the acting cabinet members and provincial governors to restore LPG price controls and broaden them to gasoline, diesel, and other "socially important" consumer goods.

The ongoing unrest has left at least 12 security forces dead and 353 others injured during the past days, according to media reports. Kazakhstan's Khabar 24 news channel reported the toll as of mid-Thursday, saying that the body of one of the dead security officers had been found with its head cut off.

The escalating unrest prompted Tokayev to appeal for help from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) — a military alliance made up of Russia and five other former Soviet states — to quell the protests. He also accused foreign-trained "terrorist groups" of being behind the unrest.

"Today I appealed to the heads of CSTO states to assist Kazakhstan in overcoming this terrorist threat," Tokayev said in a televised speech in the early hours of Thursday. "In fact, this is no longer a threat. It is undermining the integrity of the state."

The Moscow-led CSTO military alliance said it had dispatched its first troops, including Russian paratroopers and military units from other member states, namely Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

"Peacekeeping forces... were sent to the Republic of Kazakhstan for a limited time to stabilize and normalize the situation," the CSTO said in a statement, without specifying the number of the troops involved.

Source: Press TV

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Russia envoy to nuclear deal talks discusses developments with Saudi ambassador

January 06, 2022

LONDON: Russia's envoy to talks aimed at reviving the nuclear deal in Vienna met with the Saudi ambassador to Austria on Thursday.

Mikhail Ulyanov said he briefed Prince Abdullah bin Khalid bin Sultan and members of his team on the “situation in the Vienna talks.”

The two officials also “exchanged views on prospects of security dialogue” in the Arabian Gulf.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned Iran on Tuesday that time was running out to salvage the 2015 nuclear accord with major powers.

Source: Arab News

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Mossad bombed European firms helping Pakistan nukes in ’80s: Swiss daily

January 6, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad, was likely behind bombings and phone threats on German and Swiss companies linked to Pakistan’s covert nuclear programme, a Swiss historian told a Swiss daily.

The claims were carried in a report in Neue Zurcher Zeitung, a Swiss German-language daily, which said that in the 1980s, Pakistan worked with Iran to produce nuclear weapons materials.

NZZ is often referred to as the Swiss “newspaper of record”.

At the time, Washington was extremely paranoid about the cooperation as it considered Tehran an enemy after the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and the ensuing hostage crisis as well as the Iran-Iraq War.

The 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan made the US value its partnership with Pakistan more deeply as it was planning on supporting Afghanistan’s mujahideen against Kremlin, using Islamabad as a middle man.

Hence, then US President Jimmy Carter decided not to intervene directly to avoid tarnishing relations with Islamabad.

The report says that instead of attacking nuclear facilities in Pakistan, Carter decided to deal with its European suppliers who were mainly based in Germany and Switzerland.

In 1981, his administration sent a diplomatic warning to companies based in the two nations asserting they are alleged to have provided technical support to Pakistan’s nuclear programme.

Within a few months of the US warning, three facilities linked to the European companies were bombed.

There was an explosion in the house of an employee of the German company Cora Engineering in the Swiss town of Chur on February 20, 1981.

There was another blast at a Walischmiller company factory in Markdorf, Germany on May 18, 1981, and another at the Heinz Mebus engineering office on November 6th, 1981, the report said.

Mebus was in talks with engineer Abdul Kadir Han from Pakistan, known as the owner of the nuclear project, in Zurich, Switzerland.

Threatening phone messages were sent to other commercial organisations, added the report.

The Mossad’s participation in the bombings was probable, but there is no “smoking gun” to prove involvement, Adrian Hanni, a historian and intelligence service expert, told the daily.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Southeast Asia


‘Raja Bomoh’ ritual of warding off floods contradicts Islamic teachings, says deputy religious affairs minister

06 Jan 2022

JELI, Jan 6 — A ritual supposedly to ward off floods by ‘Raja Bomoh’ (shaman) or his real name, Ibrahim Mat Zin with a woman in Teluk Intan recently, clearly showed elements that contradicted Islamic teachings, said Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs), Datuk Ahmad Marzuk Shaary.

He said in this regard, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) hoped that the Perak Islamic Religious Department (JAIPk) would take stern action against the individuals involved.

“Such a practice leads to superstition. We will leave it to JAIPk to take stricter action against the two,” he told reporters after officiating at the Musaadah Banjir programme at Pasti Nur Fatihah Kuala Balah, here, today.

Yesterday, JAIPk was reported having summoned Ibrahim in connection with a ritual supposedly to ward off floods at Dataran Pengairan and Saliran Teluk Intan, which went viral on social media.

JAIPk director, Datuk Mohd Yusop Husin said apart from the man, his department would call other individuals involved in the incident to assist in the investigation under Section 14 of the Perak Syariah Criminal Enactment 1992 for defaming and insulting Islam.

On another development, Ahmad Marzuk hoped that prospective pilgrims affected by the government’s temporary suspension of travel permission to perform umrah beginning Jan 8, would be patient.

Source: Malay Mail

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Accept Gurudwara Food With Gratitude, Muslims Told

Minderjeet Kaur

December 23, 2021

PETALING JAYA: A sociologist has denounced Muslims who question the halal status of vegetarian food offered by the Sikh community to flood victims.

“Malaysians must reject and condemn such ingratitude and insolence,” said Syed Farid Alatas of the National University of Singapore.

He also said such an attitude was “irreligious and cruel”.

“It may cause confusion among some flood victims who are inclined to accept food aid prepared or given by Sikhs,” he told FMT.

Some gurdwaras in Shah Alam and Petaling Jaya have been providing free vegetarian food to those affected by floods over the weekend.

However, several people have asked whether the food was halal.

Farid, a Malaysian, said there was no reason to doubt the cleanliness and halal status of the food.

“The vegetarian food they serve is extremely healthy and the Sikhs’ gesture to help people is admirable,” he said.

He added that the doubters lacked the “civilised mentality” needed to recognise the good in others and appreciate their kind gestures.

Tawfik Ismail, a former MP, gave this advice to those who would rather starve than eat or drink what was sincerely offered: “It’s your choice, but God gifted Muslims and non-Muslims with brains. Use them to think.”

He said trust should be a guiding principle when one was receiving food.

“Ask Allah to sanction the food with the Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim invocation before you eat,” he said.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Campaign in support of the Palestinians should be consistent

06 Jan 2022

KUALA LUMPUR: Campaigns in support of the Palestinian people’s struggle and the establishment of an independent state should not be periodical, or only when attacks are carried out by Israel as happened in May 2021.

President of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Islamic Organisations (Mapim) Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid, is of the view that a campaign on the issue should be kept alive at all times to put pressure on Israel to protect the fate of the Palestinian people.

He stressed that the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the construction of new illegal settlements by Israel on Palestinian land is still ongoing.

“We do not want this issue to appear and disappear. When we heard that Al-Aqsa Mosque was attacked, we reacted angrily. So we must keep this campaign alive at all times,” he told Bernama.

He was met during the Regional Palestine Campaign Planning Workshop 2022 which was also attended by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from several countries including Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Palestine, Pakistan, Thailand and Somalia, here on Wednesday.

According to Mohd Azmi, the workshop selected 24 dates throughout the year for the campaign on Palestine, among them the dates of the tragedy of the massacres in the Sabra and Shatila camps, the Nakba day and Al Quds day.

He said a total of 100 NGOs in the Southeast Asian region, including 20 from Malaysia, agreed to be involved in carrying out campaigns on these dates so that the issue of oppression against the Palestinian people would always get the world’s attention.

“We also discussed media strategies and public mobilisation, lobbying strategies with the government and at international levels including the United Nations (UN) and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), as well as international networks,“ he said.

Mohd Azmi said the workshop also discussed the actions of several Arab countries that had established diplomatic relations with Israel (normalisation) which was seen to weaken the resistance movement against Israel.

Source: The Sun Daily

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Melaka Museums Corporation To Carry Out Repair Works On Historic Mosques Fast

06 Jan 2022

MELAKA: Repair works will be carried out immediately on three historic mosques that were damaged in the recent round of floods in the state, said Melaka Museums Corporation (Perzim).

Its General Manager Mohd Nasruddin Rahman said the mosques, namely Lubok China Mosque, Brisu Mosque and Datuk Machap Mosque in Alor Gajah were among 56 mosques gazetted as heritage mosques under the National Heritage Act 2005.

He said Datuk Machap Mosque, which was built in 1865, was the most affected, adding that inspections found that the damages were quite serious involving its roofs.

“We have submitted an application to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and God willing, we will get the allocation to repair the mosque which is also gazetted under the Melaka State Heritage Enactment,“ he told Bernama here today.

Mohd Nasruddin said besides roof work, drains around the mosque would also be repaired and enlarged.

He said Perzim would repair the other two mosques as well as other affected mosques through the allocation under the state conservation fund, based on priority.

Source: The Sun Daily

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Arab World


Islamic State ramps up activities in eastern Syria

Sultan al-Kanj

January 6, 2022

IDLIB, Syria — The Islamic State (IS) carries out almost daily operations in Deir ez-Zor against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the civilians it accuses of cooperating with the Kurdish forces. IS is also imposing taxes on shop owners, doctors and others by threatening them with murder and kidnapping via WhatsApp messages.

Furthermore, IS is constantly attacking Kurdish forces' checkpoints and barricades, forcing the SDF to retaliate with large-scale security and military operations against its cells in eastern Deir ez-Zor.

On Dec. 14, 2021, IS claimed responsibility for separate attacks that targeted SDF checkpoints in the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor, in addition to a command headquarters in al-Jarthi east of Deir ez-Zor.

On Telegram, IS said its forces targeted two SDF checkpoints — one in Dhiban and the other in Suwaidan east of Deir ez-Zor — with grenades and machine guns. IS also targeted several positions on the bridge road in Darnaj with machine guns. The group claimed responsibility for several previous attacks on SDF military headquarters in al-Busaira in the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

On Dec. 13, 2021, the SDF — supported by the US-led international coalition — carried out a security operation in the east of the country, killing five people. In a statement regarding the incident, the SDF said the raid that took place near al-Busaira targeted a hideout used by “a dangerous cell of the terrorist” armed group IS.

The SDF indicated that the cell's location was raided with US air support, explaining that members of the terrorist cell opened fire and SDF forces responded, which led to the killing of five members of the cell. “Most of them were wearing explosive belts,” the statement added.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that four people were killed in the exchange of fire, including a man, his two sons and his son-in-law, who is likely to be the main wanted person in the operation.

The observatory noted that two of them were killed by helicopter gunfire. “SDF arrested arms dealers and others suspected of belonging to the extremist organization.”

Syrian journalist Zain al-Abidin, who lives in Deir ez-Zor's eastern countryside, told Al-Monitor, “IS launches almost daily operations here with explosive devices and attacks against SDF members, patrols, checkpoints and civilians suspected of cooperating with the SDF. IS also forces the local traders, investors in oil wells, livestock owners and doctors to pay it a tax, threatening to kill those who fail to pay. IS is also killing anyone practicing witchcraft or suspected of selling drugs. In the last two months of 2021, it ramped up its attacks in this region. The largest strongholds of its cells are the towns of Dhiban, al-Hawaij, al-Zar and al-Shuhail.”

Abidin noted that west of the Euphrates in Deir ez-Zor, IS attacks have become limited, well calculated and restricted to explosive devices and missile attacks that target Syrian regime positions. He added, “IS always moves in small groups, where each group has its own commander who has his own vision. The situation of IS in the [eastern] countryside of Deir ez-Zor differs from its situation in the Syrian desert where supplies and transportation are difficult. In the desert, IS relies on individuals to supply it with food or sometimes attacks shepherds to secure food.”

Abidin does not believe the new IS leadership is the reason why the group has intensified its activities. “A new leadership has nothing to do with the frequency of operations,” he affirmed. Rumors circulated about IS appointing a new leader for what it calls Wilayat of Syria, though IS has not provided any statements on that.

Jusoor Center for Studies researcher Abbas Sharifa, who resides in Turkey, told Al-Monitor, “There are several reasons that make IS more active in Deir ez-Zor. These include the fragile security situation there, where the Syrian regime and the SDF are struggling over power control and the weak role of the local community. Moreover, IS is imposing taxes on oil traders in this oil-rich region to achieve self-financing.”

“There is no doubt that any new IS leadership would try to prove itself by intensifying its operations. This, however, requires active cells, a database of events, logistical support bases, and protection and security measures,” Sharifa said.

He indicated that IS is imposing its religious teachings in the countryside of Deir ez-Zor, which reflects the local community’s inability to resist it amid the regime and the SDF’s control of the province.

“By intensifying its activity, IS is sending a two-way message,” Sharifa said. “The first is aimed to motivate its members to ramp up their activities in the region, and the second is to threaten and intimidate its enemies.”

Source: Al Monitor

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End Hezbollah’s terrorist hegemony, Saudi envoy tells Lebanon’s politicians

06 January ,2022

Saudi Arabia’s envoy to Beirut blasted Hezbollah on Thursday, calling on Lebanon’s political parties to prioritize the interests of their country and put an end to the Iran-backed group’s “terrorist hegemony.”

“Riyadh hopes that the political parties will give priority to the supreme interest of Lebanon... and end Hezbollah’s terrorist hegemony over every aspect of the state,” Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Lebanon Waleed Bukhari said.

Bukhari’s comments were made days after Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah launched a diatribe against Saudi Arabia and its leaders, accusing them of fomenting terrorism.

Speaking on the second anniversary of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani’s killing, Nasrallah also claimed that Saudi Arabia sent suicide bombers to Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

On Thursday, Nasrallah’s deputy doubled down on similar comments attacking Saudi Arabia.

“Hezbollah’s terrorist activities and regional military behavior threaten Arab national security,” Bukhari said in a statement to AFP.

Later in an interview with Al Arabiya, Bukhari said that ties between Beirut and Riyadh were “too deep” to be impacted by irresponsible comments.

“We call on the Lebanese government to stop activities affecting the Kingdom and the Gulf,” he said.

Saying that Saudi Arabia was keen on supporting the Lebanese people, Bukhari added: “[Saudi Arabia] and the international community are sharing the responsibility to preserve Lebanon’s stability and sovereignty.”

Lebanon’s ties with Gulf countries have soured since the outbreak of the Syrian war and Hezbollah’s support for the Houthis in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia pulled its ambassador from Beirut, and several other Gulf nations followed suit last year after a Lebanese minister voiced support for the Houthis and criticized Saudi Arabia.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Arab Coalition pushes against Houthis in Yemen’s Marib and Shabwa

06 January ,2022

The Arab Coalition engaged in Yemen has retaken several areas in the energy-producing provinces of Marib and Shabwa to repel advances by the Iran-backed Houthi militia in fierce fighting that has stymied United Nations-led peace efforts.

Battles have intensified since the start of the year after the coalition sent reinforcements to Shabwa, where inroads by the Houthis had cut off access to the internationally-recognized government’s last northern stronghold in Marib.

Marib, in central Yemen, has for over a year been the focus of the seven-year war. The government holds the province’s main city and nearby oil and gas infrastructure.

Pro-coalition Yemeni forces, including the Giants Brigade, restored control on parts of Assilan in Shabwa and are pushing towards Bayhan. Dozens have been killed on both sides in the past week’s fighting, two military sources told Reuters.

Pro-government fighters have also retaken some areas on the southern and western outskirts of Marib city, three other military and tribal sources said.

Marib city is home to three million people, including nearly 1 million who fled other parts of Yemen after the Houthis ousted the government from the capital, Sanaa, in late 2014, prompting the coalition to intervene months later.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Syrian envoy to UN says Western states fabricate lies on Syria’s cooperation with OPCW

06 January 2022

Syria's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Bassam Sabbagh has affirmed Damascus’ condemnation of the use of chemical weapons, anywhere, anytime by anyone and under any circumstances, saying Western states fabricate lies on his country's cooperation with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

During a session of the UN Security Council, Sabbagh said Western countries lie to pave the way for passing resolutions against the Arab country and to establish illegitimate mechanisms to flagrantly politicize the work of the global chemical watchdog, Syria’s official SANA news agency reported.

He once again stressed that Syria has never used any type of the banned weapons or any toxic chemicals despite the fact that its army forces and their allied fighters faced huge challenges due to appalling crimes committed by foreign-backed terrorist groups and their supporters. 

Sabbagh reminded that Syria joined the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 2013 and cooperated with the UN and the OPCW to dispose of its chemical weapons stockpile and production facilities, saying this was achieved in mid-2014 and was confirmed in several reports by the global chemical watchdog.

Damascus has consistently denied using chemical weapons.

The Syrian envoy said that despite fulfillment of its obligations under the CWC and full cooperation with the OPCW, Syria has been targeted by outright lies fabricated by Western countries, which have also launched misleading campaigns against Damascus to pass punitive resolutions and devised illegitimate mechanisms, including the Investigation and Identification Team (IIT), to politicize the technical work of the OPCW in a bid to distract the watchdog from its goals.

Lies and misleading campaigns by these Western countries, Sabbagh said, have turned the reports of the OPCW’s Technical Secretariat and teams to a significant component of the hostile campaigns against the Arab country.

He stressed that such practices have negatively affected the work of the global chemical watchdog, and the credibility and reliability of its reports, as well as the professionalism of its staff.

The Syrian envoy said that in December, an investigation team from the OPCW inspected the facilities of Barzeh and Jamraya near Damascus, a month after the team paid a visit to the western province of Hama with the aim of resuming investigations into the attacks that allegedly took place in the province back in 2017.

The OPCW claims that Syrian military planes and a helicopter had dropped sarin and chlorine bombs on the town of Lataminah in Hama in March that year. Damascus denies the allegation, saying foreign-backed militants carried out the attack to frame the government.

Source: Press TV

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Arab coalition says 390 Houthis killed in strikes on Marib, Shabwa

January 06, 2022

RIYADH: More than 390 Houthis have been killed in various operations in Yemen, the Arab coalition said on Thursday.

­In oil-rich Marib province, more than 150 Houthi fighters had been killed and 19 military vehicles destroyed in operations over the last 24 hours.

The Arab coalition also carried out strikes in the southern province of Shabwa which resulted in the deaths of 240 Houthis and the destruction of 25 military vehicles.

The coalition said its spokesman Brig. General Turki Al-Malki would hold a press conference on Saturday at 4pm AST during which he will present evidence that the militia is using the ports of Hodeidah and Salif for military purposes.

Hodeidah port has become a center for smuggling and assembling Iranian ballistic missiles, the coalition added.

A UAE-flagged ship was hijacked off the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah by armed Houthis on Sunday, the Arab coalition said on Monday.

On Wednesday, the UN said it was following the matter with “concern” and urged all countries in the region to exercise restraint.

Source: Arab News

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UAE keen to work with UN, Abu Dhabi crown prince tells Guterres

January 07, 2022

LONDON: Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed said the UAE supports the UN and is looking forward to working with the global body in various fields, state news agency WAM reported on Jan. 6.

He said the UAE worked for peace and stability, and supported everything that achieved regional and international development and prosperity.

Sheikh Mohammed was speaking during a phone call with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres a day after the UAE announced its commitments as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2022-23 term.

Guterres congratulated Sheikh Mohammed on the UAE being elected to the world body and wished it success in serving the international community through the position.

The UN chief also praised Emirati humanitarian and development initiatives to support international stability and development.

The crown prince congratulated Guterres on his re-election for a second term as head of the UN, which began on Jan. 3.

He also thanked the UN and its secretary-general for the important role they play in the service of global peace and security.

“This role is becoming increasingly important in light of the challenges and dangers that threaten humanity, foremost of which is the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and the need to strengthen international collective action in the face of these threats,” he said.

During the call, the two men discussed various aspects of cooperation between the UAE and the UN and exchanged views on international and regional issues of common concern, including the situation in the Middle East.

“They stressed the importance of settling crises in the region through dialogue, peaceful methods and joint international action,” the report said.

Source: Arab News

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South Asia


Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan Free 40 Inmates From Kandahar Prison

05 Jan 2022

Provincial officials of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in Kandahar province said that they have released 40 prisoners who were kept behind bars for no crime.

The local officials said that the innocent prisoners and those who are accused of low-scale crimes were freed in coordination with Afghanistan’s Office of Prisons Administration.

The administration had reportedly released tens of innocent prisoners in Ghazni, and Zabul provinces.

A delegation of Afghanistan’s Office of Prisons Administration is supposed to travel to Urozgan, Helmand, Nimroz, Herat, Faryab, and other provinces of the country to investigate cases of inmates.

Supreme Leader of the Taliban Mullah Hebtullah Akhundzada has recently appointed a delegation to investigate cases of inmates across Afghanistan and free those who are incarcerated for no reason or have carried out low-scale crimes.

Source: Khaama Press

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IEA is concerned about unrest in Kazakhstan: Foreign Ministry

07 Jan 2022

The Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in a statement said that they are concerned about the recent unrest in Kazakhstan and have urged both the government and protesters to resolve issues through talks.

Spokesperson of the ministry Abdul Qahar Balkhi in a Twitter post said that Afghanistan is closely monitoring the situation in Kazakhstan and that as a close neighbor and economic partner state, IEA is concerned.

“IEA urges both government and protestors to resolve issues through talks and peaceful means, and to return calm and stability to the country.” Reads the Twitter post.

Thousands of furious protestors that took to streets in Kazakhstan capital Almaty have made the cabinet declare a state of emergency and the president has failed to control the unrest.

Source: Khaama Press

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Bangladesh Islami Front And Jamiat Ulema-E-Islam Met President, Md Abdul Hamid, On Formation Of A New Election Commission

Jan 06,2022

Delegations of Bangladesh Islami Front and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Bangladesh on Wednesday met president Md Abdul Hamid separately at Bangabhaban to present their proposals on the formation of a new Election Commission for holding the 12th parliamentary polls.

The six member delegation of  Bangladesh Islami Front led by chairman Mawlan M A Manan took part in the discussion at the Durbar Hall of the president’s house at 6pm while  seven member delegation led by vice-president Maulana Abdur Rab Yousufi met with the President at 7pm, according to Joynal Abedin, press secretary to the president.

Welcoming them in the Bangabhaban, Abdul Hamid said the formation of an acceptable election commission as well as the cooperation of all concerned including political parties is essential for holding a fair and impartial election.

Mentioning the need to change the mindset of the voters for holding a fair and neutral election, president Hamid said that the political parties should come forward to motivate the people for this.

During the discussion, Bangladesh Islamic Front and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Bangladesh presented their proposals including enactment of law to form an acceptable election commission.

Representatives of the Islamic Front also proposed that the new Election Commission must ensure the co-operation of the executive bodies during the election.

Secretaries concerned to the President were present during the meeting.

President Hamid opened the dialogue on formation of the next EC on December 20. The current EC is scheduled to end its five-year term in February next.

So far 15 of 27 political parties who were invited in phases joined the talks.

According to Bangabhaban press wing, the other parties invited for the dialogue are - Gono Front and Liberal Democratic Party ( LDP) on Jaof ary 6, Krishak Janata League and Bangladesh Muslim League ( BML) on January 9,  Jatiya Party ( JP) and Jatiya Somajtantrik Dal (JSD) on January 10, Islami Front Bangladesh and Bangladesh National Awami Party on January 11, and Bangladesh Nationalist Party ( BNP) and National People's Party ( NPP) on January 12.

Source: New Age Bangladesh

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Iran Urges Complete Destruction of All Chemical Weapons


Elimination of all chemical weapons worldwide was the prime objective of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), and that this goal could be realized only through the treaty’s full, balanced, effective and non-discriminatory implementation, as well as its universality.

It is therefore a source of serious concern that due to non-compliance by the United States, this objective has yet to be realized, Ershadi said on Wednesday, addressing the Security Council briefing on chemical weapons in Syria.

She also stressed that the Israeli regime must be compelled to join the CWC without any precondition or further delay

Warning against the serious impact of politicization on the CWC’s credibility, the Iranian envoy called for de-politicization of the work of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Iran reiterates is long-standing and principled position on the need to strongly condemn the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere and under any circumstances, she said.

The only absolute guarantee that chemical weapons will not be used again is the total destruction of all chemical weapons across the globe, Ershadi said, adding that all necessary measures should be taken to ensure that such weapons will not be produced and used in the future.

Citing significant efforts by Syria to carry out its obligations under the CWC, including the complete destruction of all its 27 chemical facilities as verified by the OPCW, Ershadi said the holding of monthly Security Council meetings to consider the Syrian file is unjustified.

Syria surrendered its entire chemical stockpile in 2013 to a mission led by the United Nations and the OPCW.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran Hopes for Resolution of Problems in Kazakhstan through Dialogue


Iran attaches importance to the security and stability of Kazakhstan, and grounds should not be prepared for misuse of foreign elements there, Khatibzadeh said on Thursday.

The Islamic Republic of Iran precisely observes current developments in Kazakhstan, he added.

Iran believes that the wise people and government of the friendly country of Kazakhstan can solve their disputes and problems through dialogue based on national interests and peaceful ways without foreign interference, Khatibzadeh noted.

He expressed the hope that tranquility would soon return to the neighboring country.

Initially sparked by anger at a fuel price rise, protests have quickly spread to take in wider opposition to Nursultan Nazarbayev, who retained significant power despite quitting in 2019 after a nearly three-decade rule.

Nazarbayev, 81, has been widely seen as the main political force in Nur-Sultan. He has not been seen or heard from since the protests began.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iranian statue of slain commander Soleimani torched

06 January ,2022

A statue erected to honor slain Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani has been torched by unknown assailants hours after it was unveiled, Iranian media reported Thursday.

Soleimani, who headed the Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, was killed on January 3, 2020 in Iraq in a US drone strike at Baghdad airport along with his Iraqi lieutenant and others.

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On Wednesday morning, a statue to honor him was unveiled in the southwestern Iranian city of Shahrekord.

But in the evening it was set on fire, ISNA news agency said, calling it a “shameful act by unknown individuals.”

“This treacherous crime was carried out in darkness, just like the other crime committed at night at Baghdad airport,” when Soleimani was killed, senior Muslim cleric Mohammad Ali Nekounam said in a statement carried by ISNA.

Iranian authorities have unveiled several sculptures dedicated to Soleimani since his assassination two years ago, and portraits of the revered commander dot the landscape across Iran.

State broadcaster IRIB condemned the latest attack as an “insulting” act, that comes as Iran marks the second anniversary of Soleimani’s killing, with several events in recent days.

On Thursday, thousands of Iranians also paid tribute to 250 “unknown martyrs” killed in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Palestine: Israel responsible for killing of Palestinian civilians, settler crimes

06 January 2022

The Palestinian presidency has warned against rising crimes and killings by Israeli forces and extremist settlers, stressing that the situation could spiral out of control across the occupied territories.

In a statement released on Thursday, the Palestinian leadership held the Israeli regime accountable for killings, arrests and settler crimes targeting Palestinian civilians.

It urged the international community to intervene and provide international protection for the Palestinian people. It appealed to everyone to assume their responsibilities before the situation explodes in an uncontrollable manner.

The statement called on the United States, a close ally of Israel, to refrain from offering unconditional support for the Tel Aviv regime.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned US national security advisor Jake Sullivan in their recent meeting that without a "political horizon," any small incident on the ground could create an escalation that may spiral out of control, as it has happened repeatedly in the past, it said.

The presidency also encouraged activists to expose and confront settler terrorism and their attacks, which are being carried out under the support of the Israeli army.

It also condemned the killing of two young Palestinian men during separate attacks by Israeli forces and settlers early Thursday.

In the first incident, Israeli forces fatally shot a young Palestinian man during a violent raid on a refugee camp in the northern West Bank. The incident took place at the Balata refugee camp in Nablus city, as Palestinians clashed with the Israeli soldiers who had stormed the camp to make arrests.

According to Palestinian medical and security sources, Bakir Hashash, 21, was shot in the head.

Elsewhere, another young Palestinian lost his life after being run over by an Israeli settler in the village of Safa in the western part of the West Bank. The Palestinian, identified as 25-year-old Mustafa Yasin Fathna, was on his way to work when he was hit.

The Tel Aviv regime has been criticized for its extensive use of lethal force against and extrajudicial killing of Palestinians who do not pose an immediate threat to the occupation forces.

Israeli troops have on numerous occasions been caught on camera, brutally killing Palestinians, with the videos going viral online and sparking international condemnation.

A current report by an NGO said Israeli forces killed 357 Palestinians in 2021 amid the silence of the international community on the regime’s increasing acts of violence against civilians.

Palestinian groups and activists have warned that Israel’s practices and settler “assaults” in the occupied West Bank could lead to a new intifada (uprising).

Hamas and other Palestinian factions, meanwhile, have renewed their call for stepping up “all forms of resistance” against Israel.

The Palestinian Authority, for its part, stepped up its criticism of the Israeli regime in the wake of the growing violence by its troops and settlers in the West Bank.

Elsewhere in the statement, the presidency held the Israeli regime responsible for violating the rights of Palestinian prisoners and its illegal settlement expansion activities and land grabs policies.

Tensions have been running high in the occupied territories for months over Israel’s settlement activities and its planned eviction of Palestinian families from their ancestral homes.

Source: Press TV

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Capitol riot glimpse of what US has been trying to export for decades, says Iran Foreign Ministry

07 January 2022

Spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry Saeed Khatibzadeh says last year's deadly attack on the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. by supporters of then-president Donald Trump has many lessons for Americans.

“On #January6th the world witnessed a glimpse of what the US has been trying to export to other countries for decades. The chaos was predictable when Trump was not held accountable for his unlawful conduct around the globe. What goes around, comes around. US has a lot to learn,” Khatibzadeh wrote in a post published on his Twitter page on Thursday evening.

He added, “The chaos was predictable when Trump was not held accountable for his unlawful conduct around the globe.”

“What goes around, comes around. US has a lot to learn,” the senior Iranian diplomat pointed out.

On January 6 last year, a rally by Trump's supporters turned into a riot as protesters broke into the US Capitol building to prevent the certification of the results of the Electoral College votes.

The protesters attacked police, vandalized the Capitol and sent members of Congress and, then Vice President, Mike Pence, running for their lives.

Democrats have been arguing that last January’s riot on was an insurrection based on disinformation spread by Trump who alleges that he is the true victor of the 2020 presidential election and not Joe Biden.

A new poll has found that 60% of Americans believe Trump's level of responsibility for the attack was either a great deal or a good amount.

Trump is often cited by US media as the one inciting his supporters to storm the Congress premises in the hope of overturning the election results.

A committee tasked with investigating the events of the January 6 riot has issued dozens of subpoenas to Trump's current and former associates.

At least five people died in the attack, including a police officer. More than 725 individuals have since been arrested and charged for their role in the January 6 riot.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland vowed to hold all perpetrators of the January 6 attack on US Capitol at any level accountable.

Source: Press TV

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IRGC Quds force cmdr.: US will leave Iraq with more humiliation than what it suffered in Afghanistan

06 January 2022

The commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says the US terrorist forces in Iraq will have to leave the Arab country with more humiliation than what they experienced in Afghanistan.

Brigadier General Esmail Qa'ani made the remarks at a ceremony held in Iran’s northeastern city of Mashhad on Thursday to commemorate the second martyrdom anniversary of top Iranian anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and his companions in a US drone strike outside Baghdad International Airport.

Qa'ani stressed that the Americans will be finally expelled from the region as they are facing various problems there while the resistance front is advancing on a daily basis.

“By the grace of God, all Americans will be expelled ... from this region,” the IRGC’s Quds Force commander said. “A considerable number of Americans have been forced out of this region and this will continue. As for Iraq, they must leave Iraq, otherwise; the resistance front inside Iraq will make the Americans miserable and they will have to leave Iraq under more humiliated conditions than what they experienced in Afghanistan and they have no other choice but to leave Iraq.”

There are about 2,500 US soldiers and another 1,000 coalition troopers currently based in Iraq.

Qa'ani added that resistance front forces are currently equipped with missiles and weapons which are capable of targeting US warships and carriers anywhere in the region.

Pointing to the 11-day Gaza war in May last year, Qa'ani said Palestinian resistance factions in the coastal enclave fired 3,000 missiles at Israel, 100 of which hit Tel Aviv.

“The Americans built an army for Afghanistan for 20 years but the army could not resist for 20 days, and on the other side of the region, the Zionist regime is building a six-meter wall around its occupied territory, however, In last summer's battle, the resistance [front forces] fired 3,000 rockets from the besieged Gaza Strip at Israel and nearly 100 rockets landed in the regime's capital,” he noted.

Qa’ani condemned as the "most cowardly" the assassination of General Soleimani and his Iraqi comrade Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), along with their companions in a US drone strike authorized by ex-President Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020.

Both commanders were highly revered across the Middle East because of their key role in fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.

Source: Press TV

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Jordan MPs back constitutional reforms to revitalize politics

06 January ,2022

Jordan’s parliament on Thursday approved government-backed constitutional reforms intended to revitalize the country’s stagnant political life, although some opposition deputies slammed the changes as incapable of strengthening democracy.

The changes were approved by a majority of 104-8 after a marathon debate over the measures, originally proposed by a royal committee appointed by King Abdullah, a close US ally and the ultimate decision maker in the country of 10 million.

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Independent politicians say the reforms are an attempt by the authorities to restore public trust in the state and defuse anger over successive governments’ failure to deliver on pledges of prosperity and curbing corruption.

One of the most significant amendments paves the way for a prime minister to be chosen by the assembly’s largest single party, rather than one handpicked by the monarch, officials say.

The demand has been a leading plank of a reformist agenda favored by a mix of Islamist and tribal figures. Other changes give political parties a bigger role, allow wider representation of women and lower the age for elected deputies to 25 years.

“We are progressing in the plans to modernize the political system and pave the way towards party based governments,” Prime Minister Bisher al Khasawneh told the assembly.

The monarch launched the reform drive after a crisis shook the tribally based political establishment last April when former crown prince Hamza was accused of agitating against Abdullah, after he criticized the country’s leaders as corrupt.

The confrontation exposed fault-lines within the kingdom, which in recent years has witnessed civil unrest triggered by a worsening economy and demands for wider political freedoms and an end to rampant corruption.

Abdullah, who has ruled since 1990 and can dissolve parliament and appoint governments, has said in recent years he hoped one day to become a constitutional monarch.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Communications disrupted in Sudan ahead of anti-military protests

06 January ,2022

Internet and mobile services appeared to be disrupted in Sudan on Thursday ahead of the latest round of planned protests against a military takeover that upended a transition towards elections.

Some bridges between the capital Khartoum and its sister cities of Bahri and Omdurman were also closed ahead of the demonstrations.

Protesters said they would try to reach Khartoum’s presidential palace as they try to keep up pressure on the military, which halted a power-sharing arrangement negotiated after the 2019 overthrow of Omar al-Bashir when it staged a coup last October.

“We will occupy the streets once more, heading for the tyrant’s palace, rejecting military rule, and adhering to peacefulness, our strongest weapon,” said a statement from resistance committees organising protests from Bahri.

Crackdowns on protests since the coup have left at least 57 people dead and many more injured, according to medics aligned with the protest movement.

Calls and mobile internet services were disrupted from late morning, Reuters journalists and internet blockage observatory NetBlocks said.

The protests come four days after Abdalla Hamdok resigned as prime minister, throwing Sudan’s future deeper into uncertainty.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Wife of detained Tunisian politician starts hunger strike

Murad al-Dallaji 


BIZERTE, Tunisia

The wife of a senior Tunisian politician started a hunger strike Thursday in protest against his continued detention.

Saida Akremi, whose husband Noureddine Bhairi is the deputy chairman of the Ennahdha party, told Anadolu Agency that security personnel at the hospital where her husband has been transferred have refused to provide her with food.

"I started a hunger strike in protest of the continued imprisonment of my husband and for denying food for me," Akremi said.

Bhairi, 63, was transferred to Habib Bougatfa Hospital in the northern city of Bizerte after his health deteriorated due to his hunger strike.

"Despite denying me food, I was not subjected to any pressure or mistreatment, whether by the medical staff or the security officers at the hospital," Akremi said.

She added that she tried to convince her husband to end his hunger strike, but he refused.

On Wednesday, his doctor, Hatem Ghadoun, warned that his condition is serious in light of his hypertension and diabetes along with heart issues.

On Monday, Interior Minister Taoufik Charfeddine accused Bhairi of being involved in terrorism-related activities for allegedly issuing false identity documents to a Syrian couple while he was serving as justice minister, with one of the individuals previously linked to terrorist cases committed outside Tunisian territory.

The Ennahdha party, the largest party in the now suspended Tunisian parliament, said the accusations against Bhairi are "politicized" and called for his immediate release, holding President Kais Saied and Charfeddine responsible for his well-being.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Anti-military protests in Sudan continue, 3 protesters killed

Barham Abdel-Moneim  



Three people were killed Thursday in Sudan in protests against military rule in various parts of the country, said the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors (CCSD).

In a statement, the group said the three people were killed in protests held in the cities of Omdurman and Bahri, both near the capital Khartoum, after security forces opened fire at protesters there.

This brings the number of protesters killed since the eruption of anti-military protests last October to 60, it added.

Nationwide protests again erupted in Khartoum and other cities three days after the Sunday resignation of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

In Bashdar, central Khartoum, thousands of protesters assembled from various neighborhoods chanted slogans against the October military coup and demanded the restoration of civilian rule in the country.

Access to seats of power cut off

To counter the protests demanding civilian rule, authorities deployed security forces to Khartoum, closing the main roads leading to the presidential palace and army headquarters.

Security forces began checking passing cars before the start of the protests calling for complete civilian rule.

According to an Anadolu Agency reporter on the ground, security forces blocked most of the bridges using shipping containers and closed streets in the center of the capital with concrete barriers and barbed wire to prevent demonstrators from reaching the presidential palace, as well as the headquarters of Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, the army commander and head of the Transitional Sovereignty Council.

The Suba Bridge, which connects the city of East Nile and the capital, witnessed massive traffic congestion, angering commuters.

On Wednesday, resistance committees issued a public call to hold a new round of demonstrations in the capital and the rest of the North African country's cities on Thursday to demand full civilian rule and reject what the protesters consider a military coup.

On Sunday, Sudan's transitional prime minister submitted his resignation hours after three people were killed during the protests.

Sudan has been in turmoil since Oct. 25 when the Sudanese military dismissed Abdalla Hamdok's transitional government and declared a state of emergency.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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North America


US judge orders Mississippi city to approve mosque construction

6 January 2022

A US federal judge has ordered a Mississippi city to approve plans for a mosque to be built in the area, months after a lawsuit was filed claiming the plans were denied due to anti-Muslim prejudice.

The judge issued an order on Monday, which would pave the way for the mosque's construction, ban the delays of any permits, and force the government of Horn Lake, Mississippi to pay the mosque builders $25,000 for incurred expenses, as well as attorney fees for the plaintiffs.

In November, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against Horn Lake on behalf of Riyadh Elkhayyat and Maher Abuirshaid, co-founders of the Abraham House of God, who had submitted a site plan for the mosque that "met or exceeded" all requirements, according to staff for the city's planning commission, cited by the ACLU.

"We are heartened and relieved that we are able to move ahead with our plans for a mosque in Horn Lake, which will provide a critical local house of worship for my family and other Muslims in the community to gather and practice our faith freely and without discrimination," Elkhayyat said in a statement.

Heather Weaver, senior staff attorney for the ACLU's religious freedom programme, said: "The consent decree entered by the court today is an important victory for religious freedom. It affirms the fundamental principle that the government may not base its decisions on bigotry against a particular faith."

The two co-founders have been seeking to build what would be the first mosque in DeSoto County, where they say Muslim families currently have to cross state lines into neighbouring Tennessee in order to attend their nearest house of worship.

Despite there being 13 churches in the city of Horn Lake, there are no mosques in the area where the two plaintiffs said there is a "thriving" Muslim community of 15 to 20 families.

However, their plans were initially rejected by the commission and its Board of Aldermen, the city's governing body.

Anti-Muslim sentiment

According to the complaint, the board said it rejected the plan on the basis that the mosque would create traffic and violate noise ordinances. But the ACLU rejected this argument, pointing out that no evidence was provided to make these claims, and that the submitted plans did not include speakers or noise amplifiers.

The complaint said that board members showed the real reason for the application's rejection: anti-Muslim bias.

Source: Middle East Eye

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US urges peaceful resolution to ongoing unrest in Kazakhstan

Michael Hernandez 



US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged a peaceful resolution on Thursday to ongoing unrest in Kazakhstan that has left dozens dead amid worries of a potential civil war.

Blinken spoke by telephone with Kazakh Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi, and "reiterated the United States’ full support for Kazakhstan’s constitutional institutions and media freedom," spokesman Ned Price said in a statement. The top US diplomat further "advocated for a peaceful, rights-respecting resolution to the crisis."

Protests that began in western Kazakhstan on Jan. 2 over an increase in prices for liquified petroleum gas, or LPG, later spread to other areas of the Central Asian nation, and have since gone nationwide.

In response, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev declared a state of emergency in the commercial capital Almaty and the oil-rich Mangystau region, which was later made nationwide. Tokayev also approved the resignation of the government, and requested support from the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Eurasian alliance of former Soviet states and Russia.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Reparations for downed jet: Canada, other nations vow action against Iran

January 06, 2022

OTTAWA: Canada, Britain, Sweden and Ukraine on Thursday said they had abandoned efforts to talk to Tehran about reparations for an airliner downed by Iran and would try to settle the matter according to international law.

Most of the 176 people killed when Iran shot down the Ukrainian jet in January 2020 were citizens from those four countries, which created a coordination group that seeks to hold Tehran to account.

“Despite our best efforts over the past two years and multiple attempts to resolve this matter through negotiations, the Coordination Group has determined that further attempts to negotiate with Iran ... are futile,” it said in a statement.

“The Coordination Group will now focus on subsequent actions to take to resolve this matter in accordance with international law,” it continued, but did not give details.

Tehran says Revolutionary Guards accidentally shot down the Boeing 737 jet and blamed a misaligned radar and an error by the air defense operator at a time when tensions were high between Tehran and the US.

Source: Arab News

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